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Edited by R. BOWDLER SHARPS, LL.D., F.L.S., Etc. 













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On the conclusion of my " Handbook " I should like to say 
a few words, principally in reply to some friendly criticisms. 
The plentiful crop of works on British Birds, which springs up 
year by year and apparently flourishes, renders it almost an 
impossibility to write a book on the subject on altogether ne\\ 
lines, as the story of our native birds is being told by a 
hundred authors in a hundred different ways. Within the 
restricted limits allotted to me in the *' Naturalist's Library," it 
was manifestly impossible to produce a monographic work, 
and therefore I chose the form of a ' Handbook,' a method 
which possesses its advantages and disadvantages. Such a work 
cannot be exhaustive, and I have therefore only tried to make 
it useful, and I offer a few remarks by way of an " Apologia." 

Nomenclature. — The names adopted for the species have been 
much criticised. Much of this criticism has been prompted by 
pedantry, and a sort of hero-worship for the work of the 
ancients, more by a child-like ignorance of the principles of 
scientific nomenclature, and still more by a wilful and narrow- 
minded intolerance of anything that seems to be "new." As a 
matter of fact, nothing in my system of nomenclature is "new," 
and any one who says so does but display his ignorance of 
recent ornithological literature. It is, however, encouraging 
to find that in the best-known popular journals, and even in 
the best scientific publications of this country, little fault has 
been found with the method of my " Handbook/' but a general 
onslaught has been made upon the nomenclature I have 
adopted. To the reviews in the scientific journals I have 
scarcely any reply to make. The writers of the articles will be 
found adopting my nomenclature in the near future, and if 


not, why not? They will have to explain dearly their reasons 
for differing from me, and I have little fear as to their ultimate 

To the ornithological students, and to the critics on the 
staffs of the popular daily and monthly journals who differ from 
me, I should like once more to explain my reasons for employing 
the names I do. I have not adopted the names given in the 
tenth edition of Linnaeus "Systema Naturae" (1758), but have 
preferred those of the twelfth edition (1766). Therein I follow 
the rules of the British Association. American and German 
ornithologists start their nomenclature from 1758, because in this 
year Linnaeus first promulgated a strictly binomial nomenclature. 
Good ! But, after death, a man would surely wish to be judged by 
his most recent work, not by his earlier publications. Therefore, 
it seems to me most reasonable to adopt the nomenclature of 
the twelfth edition of the "Systema Naturae," as being the last 
edition published by Linnaeus himself, and containing his 
latest notions. In the eight years which elapsed since the 
publication of the tenth edition, Linnaeus must have felt that 
his knowledge had gained somewhat, otherwise he would not 
have altered any of his work in his twelfth edition. Few critics 
have fallen foul of me on this score, and indeed the changes 
of nomenclature would be trifling, even if this adoption of the 
1758 edition became universal, needless as it seems to me. 

The chief point of offence laid to my door is rather the 
employment of an identical generic and specific name, and I 
find that all my explanations on the subject have failed to 
convince the "man in the street." I should like to explain 
myself once more, and I trust that the following example {Ex 
uno disce omnes) may suffice to illustrate the principles of 
nomenclature that I champion. 

I take it that no one, whether adopting the tenth or the 
twelfth edition of Linnaeus' " Systema," will object to the prin- 


ciple that a Linnean specific name ought not to be altered, if 
the species to which it appHes is beyond question. 

Let us take a couple of familiar examples. The Blackbird 
I call Merula merula (Linn.). It is the Tardus merula of 
Linnaeus. Many ornithologists do not admit that the Black- 
bird is generically distinct from the Thrush {Turdus musicus)^ 
but for those who think otherwise, what is the generic name of 
the Blackbird to be ? It is Merula of Leach, and therefore, if 
it is considered necessary to keep Merula distinct from Turdus, 
the Blackbird must be called Merula merula (Linn.). Or to take 
the genus Cinclus. The Black-bellied Dipper is the Slurnus 
cinclus of Linnaeus. No one in these days would suggest that 
the Dippers are Starlings, and everyone adopts Bechstein's 
genus Cinclus for these birds. The result is that the Black- 
bellied Dipper must bear the name of Cinclus cinclus (Linn.) I 
see no sort of escape from this conclusion. 

Then, again, there is often a difficulty in fixing the type of 
a Linnean genus, because modern research has much enlarged 
the scope of our knowledge of birds since 1766. Thus the 
genus Turdus of Linnaeus is the Family Turdidce of our 
present Systems, and the genus Strix of Linn^us equals the 
Family Strigidce, or the Order Striges of the present day. The 
type of a Linnean genus can, therefore, be fixed only by 

" elimination." I will take the genus Strix as an example. 
Twelve species of Strix were known to Linnaeus and 

described by him in 1766, divided into two sections — those 

with ear-tufts, and those without. 

a. AuriculatcB (■= Genus Asio, Briss. 1760). 
Type of -^2^^^, Cuvier, 181 7. i. bubo. 

2. scandiaca = No. 6. 

3. asio. Is also a Scop, like 

4. otus. LNo. 5. 
liy])Q oi Scops, Savigny, 1809. 5. scops. 

v^lll PREFACE. 

b. InauricidatcE (= Strix, Linn.). 

Type oi Nyciea, Stephens, 1826. 6. nyctea. 
Type of Syrnium, Savigny, 1809. 7. aluco. 

8. flammea. 

9. stridula = No. 7. 

Type o( Surma, Dumeril, 1806. | |°' f^J^J^^^ 
Type of Glaua'dii^m, Boic, 1826. 12. passerina 

Hence we see that, by the gradual ehmination of the Linnean 
species, as one after another becomes fixed as the type 
of some genus or other, S^rix oius, Linn., remains the type of 
the genus Asio, Briss., and Strix flammea is the sole survivor of 
the genus Strix as instituted by Linnceus, and becomes its type. 

Besides this, Savigny, when he split up the Owls in 1809, 
and made several new genera, restricted the Barn Owl for his 
genus Strix (ex Linn.), as he had every right to do. 

Descriptio7is. — In the accounts of the different plumages of 
our British Birds, I have, in nearly every case, described actual 
specimens in the British Museum, and my descriptions through- 
out the work have been mostly original. Some of my critics 
have complained that these descriptions are unnecessarily long, 
especially in the case of foreign birds which have occurred but a 
few times in Great Britain. To that I would reply, that no one 
knows what is going to happen, and these detailed descriptions 
may one day be found useful in determining foreign visitors 
to our shores ; and secondly, by the many hundreds of earnest 
students, who may be unknown to fame, but who are neverthe- 
less doing excellent work in many parts of the country, these 
descriptions are studied, as I have been informed by many of 
my correspondents. I have tried to condense into this "Hand- 
book " only such descriptions of plumage as will be useful 
to students, to whom the large works, in which such details 
appear, are often inaccessible. In many instances I have 


copied the descriptions published by me in my volumes of the 
*' Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum," when I found 
that I could not add any new information on the subject ; and 
I have been guided by the excellent volumes recently published 
by Mr. Salvin, Count Salvadori, Mr. Howard Saunders, and 
Mr. Ogilvie Grant, while I am indebted to the writings of these 
gentlemen for important useful information, much of which has 
not been published in any previous popular work on British 

Geographical Distribution and Habits. — In the treatment of 
this branch of the subject, it is impossible to be original, and 
the student will find little in my " Handbook " which is not 
to be found in the fourth edition of "Yarrell," in Seebohm's 
" History of British Birds," and other well-known works, 
though I have endeavoured to give the latest knowledge on 
the subject of the geographical distribution of our birds. 
My life-work as an officer of the British Museum has natu- 
rally been that of a " cabinet "-naturalist, from necessity, not 
from choice ; but for a museum official, I think I have seen 
more of the birds in the field than usually falls to the lot of a 
stay-at-home ornithologist. Indeed, the reproach that is often 
hurled at museum officials, viz., that they are "two-pair-back- 
garret naturalists," is entirely undeserved, for, according to my 
experience, they spend as much time in field-work as any other 
professional men. Anyone looking through the published cata- 
logue of a museum will generally find that the collections have 
been enriched by the exertions of the naturalists in charge of 
them in no small degree. Take the British Museum, for instance, 
which is the institution at which the gibes of the opportunist 
field-naturalists are generally hurled. After Lord Walsingham, 
it will be found that the greater number of the groups of British 
birds, with their nests, have been obtained by Mr. Ogilvie Grant 
and myself, excepting some cases of rare species contributed 


by Colonel Irby, Captain Savile Reid, and Mr. Theodore 
Walker. The same may be said of the collection of bird-skins ; 
and no one would say that Salvin, Godman, Hume, Seebohm, 
Sclater, Shelley, or Howard Saunders, were not field-natural- 
ists, because they were also " cabinet "-naturalists, and had 
written important works on ornithology. The same can be 
said of the ornithologists in foreign museums — of Biittikofer, 
the explorer of Liberia and Dutch Borneo ; of Reichenow, the 
traveller in Aguapim and the Cameroons ; of Meyer, the 
explorer of Celebes and New Guinea ; of Hartert, the explorer 
of the Niger, of Assam^ Perak, and Sumatra ; of Forbes, of 
Timor Laut and New Guinea fame ; and dozens of others could 
be mentioned. Of the American ornithologists, I believe that 
there is not one in charge of a museum that has not won his 
spurs in the field. The taunt of being " cabinet "-naturalist 
only falls harmless in these days, when levelled at such men 
and many others I could name. 

My opportunities for field-work may have not been many. I 
have tried to make the most of them, and I feel that this is 
true, for nearly every vacation that I have had in my life has 
been spent in the study of birds in their haunts. Nevertheless, 
there are dozens of British birds whose nests I have never 
taken, and whose haunts I have never been able to visit. My 
own small experiences have been recorded in the present work, 
but where I have not been fortunate enough to have personal 
acquaintance with a species, I have given the best account 
that I could lay my hands on at the time. The space at my 
disposal has never been enough to go very deeply into the 
subject of the habits of the birds, and I have generally given 
a brief extract, taken from some well-known work, like that of 
Seebohm, or from some less-known volumes like those of 
Nelson, Elliot, Brehm, Saxby, &c. At the same time, I have 
to acknowledge the receipt of many interesting original notes 


from friends like Mr. Robert Read, Mr. E. W. De Winton, 
Mr. W. R. Ogilvie Grant, Mr. A. Trevor-Battye, Mr. Abel 
Chapman, and other kind helpers, but I have taken most of 
my quotations on the habits of birds from Seebohm's well- 
known history. I knew Seebohm intimately for many years, 
and accompanied him to Heligoland, and other places on 
the continent of Europe, and I can testify to the keenness 
with which he laboured to try and collect facts for his 
" History of British Birds." Of his ideas of " Ckassification," 
and how his facts were obtained for the demonstration of his 
Systems, this is not the place to speak, though I should like 
to take this opportunity of repudiating the idea that in my 
Classification of birds, published in 1891, I was a " disciple" 
of Seebohm's, as Professor Newton (Diet. B. Intr. p. 103, note) 
has lately suggested ; for a considerable portion of my essay 
is devoted to the exposure of what I consider to be errors on 
Seebohm's part. I have not detected any plagiarism in the 
latter's " History of British Birds," but, on the contrary, from 
my knowledge of his method of work in the field, and the 
ample diaries which he kept on those occasions, I believe that 
his notes on the habits of birds are more original than those 
in any other English publications except, perhaps, those of 
Macgillivray and Booth. 

I cannot conclude this preface without acknowledging, with 
the utmost sincerity, the kind help and advice which I have 
received from my old friend Howard Saunders, without 
whose assistance I should never have had the courage to 
undertake such a laborious and tedious occupation as the pre- 
paration of even a small book like this " Handbook " has proved 
to be. I can only hope that its utility may be found in some 
way to compensate for the labour involved in its preparation. 

Chiswick, March 10, 1897. 





ecu. Hydrochelidon, Boie 3 

1. nigra (Linn.). ... ... ... ••• 3 

2. hybrida (Pall.) 6 

3. leucoptera (Meisner & Schinz) ... ... ... .. 9 

CCIII. Gelochelidon, Brehm 11 

I. anglica (Mont.) 11 


I. caspia (Pall.). 14 

CCV. Sterna, Linn. 17 

1. fluviatilis, Naum. ... ... .. ... ... ... 17 

2. macrura, Naum. ... ... ... ... ... ... 21 

3. dougalli, Mont 23 

4. canliaca, Gm. ... ... ... ... ... ... 27 

5. anaestheta, Scop. ... ... ... ... ... ... 29 

6. fuliginosa, Gm. ... ... . ... ... ... 32 

7. minuta, Linn. ... .. ... ... .., ... 34 

CCVI. Angus, Steph 2>7 

I. stolidus (Linn.) 37 


CCVII. Xema, Leach 41 

I, sabinii (J. Sabine).... ... ... ... 4I 

CCVIII. Rhodostethia, Bp 45 

I, rosea (Macgill.) 45 

CCIX. Larus, Linn 48 

1. minutus, Pall. .- ... ... ... ... ... 49 

2. ichlhyaetus. Pall. ... ... ... ... ... ... 51 

3. mtlauocephalus, Nalt. ... ... ... ... ... 54 

4. pliiladelphia (Ord.) 56 


5. ridibundus, Linn. 59 

6. marinus, Linn. ... ... .. ... ... ... 63 

7. fuscus, Linn 66 

8. argentatus, Gm. ... ... ... ... ... .. 70 

9. canus, Linn. ,, ... ... ... ... ... 73 

10. hyperboreus, Gunn. ... ... ... ... ... 76 

11. leucopterus, Faber. 79 

CCX. Pagophila, Kaup 81 

I. eburnea (Phipps). .. ... ... ... 81 

CCXL RissA, Steph 84 

I. tridactyla (Linn.). 84 


CCXIL Megalestris, Bp. 89 

I. catarrhactes (Linn.). ., 90 

CCXIIL Stercorarius, Briss 93 

1. pomatorhinus (Temm.). ... ... ... ... ... 93 

2. crepidatus (Banks). ... ... ... 97 

3. parasiticus (Linn.). loi 


CCXIV. Alga, Linn 106 

I. torda, Linn. ... ... ... ... ... ... 106 

CCXV. Plautus, Brlinn no 

I. impennis (Linn.). ... ... ... ... ... ... in 

CCXVL Uria, Briss 114 

1. troile (Linn.) II4 

2. ringvia, Lath, 119 

3. bruennichi, Sabine. 120 

CCXVIL Cepphus, Pall. 123 

I. grylle (Linn.). ... 123 

CCXVIIL Alle, Link 127 

I. alle (Linn.) 127 

CCXIX. Fratercula, Briss 130 

I. arctica (Linn.) 130 





CCXX. Procellaria, (Linn.). ... 

I. pelagica (Linn.) 


1. lencorrhoa (Vieill.). 

2. cryptoleucura (Ridgw.). ... 
CCXXII. OCEANITES, Keys. u. Bias. 

I. oceanicus (Kuhl.). 
CCXXIII. Pei.agodroma, Reichenb. 
I. marina (Lath.) 


I. GLACiALis(Linn.). 
CCXXV. Daption, Steph. 

I. capensis (Linn.). ... 

CCXXVI. PuFFiNUs, Briss. 

1. gravis (O'Reilly). ... 

2. pufifinus (Linn.). ... 

3. yelkouanus (Acerbi). 

4. obscurus (Gm.). ... 

5. griseus (Gm.) 


1. haesitata (Kuhl) 

2. brevipes (Peale). ... 

I. bulweri (Jard. & Selby)-.. 



1. glacialis, Linn 

2. adamsi, Gray. 

3. arcticus, Linn 

4. septentrionalis, Linn. 


... 136 

••• 137 

••• 137 

... 140 

... 140 

■•• 143 

... 144 

... 145 

... 145 

... 149 

... 149 

... 152 

... 152 

... 152 

••• 153 

... 157 

... 158 

... 160 

... 1 60 

. . , 1 60 

... 163 

... 167 

... 168 

... 169 

... 171 

... 172 

••• 173 

-. 175 

••■ 175 

... 177 

... 178 

... 178 

182, 304 

... 185 

... 187 






I. cristata (Linn.) 


2. griseigena (Bodd.). 

... 198 

CCXXXI. Dytes, Kaup 


I. auritus (Linn.) 


CCXXXI r. Proctopus, Kaup 


I. nigricollis (C. L. Brehm). 




I. fluviatilis (Tunst.) 




I. podicipes (Linn.) 








CCXXXV. Rallus, Linn 


I. aquaticus, Linn 


CCXXXVI. Crex, Bechst 


I. crex (Linn.) 


CCXXXVIL Zapornia, Leach 


I. parva (Scop,) 




I. porzana 


2. Carolina (Linn.) 


3. intermedia (Herm ) 


CCXXXIX. Gallinula, Briss 


I. chloropus (Linn.). 


CCXL. PoRPHYRio, Briss. 




CCXLL FuLicA, Linn 


I. atra, Linn. 





• 241 




1. palumbus, Linn. ... 

2. oenas, Linn. 

3 livia, Bonn. 

CCXLIII. EcTOPisTES, Swains. ... 

I. migratorius (Linn.). 

1. turtur (Linn.) 

2. orientalis (Lath.) 


CCXLV. Syrrhaptes, Illiger. ... 
I. paradoxus (Pall.) 


CCXLVL Lagopus, Briss. 

1. scoticus (Lath.), ... 

2. mutus (Montin). ... 
CCXLVII. Lyrurus, vSwains. ... 

I. tetrix (Linn.) 

CCXLVIII. Tetrao, Linn. 

I. urogallus, Linn. ... 
CCXLIX. Caccabis, Kaup. 

I. rufa (Linn.). 
CCL. Perdix, Briss. 

I. perdix (Linn.) 
CCLI. CoTURNix, Bonn 

I. coturnix (Linn.). ... 






CCLII. Phasianus, Linn. 


I. colchicus, Linn 




Addenda to Vol. I. ... 


Ligurinus chloris 


Cannabina exilipes. ... 


Cannabina hornemanni 


Pyrrhula pyrrhula 


Sylvia sub-alpina 


Phylloscopus viridanus. 

... 300 

Phylloscopus proregulus. ... 


Addenda to Vol. II 


Somateria spectabilis. 


^gialitis hiaticola 


Addenda to Vol. Ill 


Larus atricilla. 

.. 304 

Colymbus adamsi 


Addendum to Present Volume 


Turtur arenicola 

... 304 



XCI\^ —Black Tern Frontispiece, 

XC v.— White-winged Black Tern to face page 9 

XC VI.— Gull-billed Tern n 

XCVir.— Roseate Tern 25 

JCC VIII.— Sabine's Gull 41 

XCIX.— Black-headed Gull 59 

C— Great Black-backed Gull 65 

CI.— Lesser Black-backed Gull 67 

GIL— Glaucous Gull 77 

cm.— Richardson's Skua 97 

CIV.— Razor-bill 107 

CV.— Great Auk 113 

CVI.— Common Guillemot 117 

CVII.— Bridled Guillemot 119 

CVIII.— Black Guillemot 123 

CIX.— Little Auk 127 

ex.— Puffin 131 

CXTa.— Storm Petrel I37 

CXI(^.— Fork-tailed Petrel 141 

CXI^.— Madeira Petrel I43 

CXL/.— White-bellied Petrel I49 

CXI.— Fulmar , I53 

CXIL— White-throated Grey Petrel 173 

CXIIL— White-billed Uiver 183 

CXIV.— Red-throated Diver 187 

CXV.— Slavonian Grebe 
CXVI.— Water-Rail... 

CXVIL— Land- Rail ... 

CXVIIL— Spotted Crake 

CXIX.— Moor-Hen ... 

CXX. — Common Coot 

CXXI.— Wood-Pigeon 

CXXIL— Stock-Dove. 



CXXIII.— Common Partridge 283 

CXXIV. — American Laughing Gull 304 




These birds, though at first sight very different in appearance 
from the Plovers, are really allied to them. They possess cha- 
racters, external and internal, which indicate close affinity ; but 
they are easily recognised by the structure of their feet, the 
Gulls being entirely web-footed, the Plovers not. The eggs, 
however, of some of the smaller Terns are almost indistinguish- 
able from some of the Plovers' eggs, and not only in the 
colour of the latter, but in the form of the nest, there is so 
much similarity that it is impossible to deny the close 
relationship of Terns and Plovers. The latest, and at the 
same time the greatest, authority on the Lariformes, Mr. 
Howard Saunders, has given the following characters for the 
Order in the British Museum " Catalogue of Birds " : — The 
palate is " schizognathous " or split ; the nasals schizorhinal. 
In the wing the fifth secondary is wanting, and the number of 
cervical vertebrae is fifteen. The young are hatched covered 
with down, and are able to run about in a few hours. Instead 
of the four eggs which form the complement of those of the 
Charadriiforj/ies, the number laid by the Gulls and Terns 
seldom exceeds three. The Gulls are absolutely cosmopolitan 
in range, and they are divided into two families, the Larid{B, 
containing the Gulls and Terns, and the Stercorariidce, or Skuas. 
The Skuas possess a bare wax-like base to the bill, such as 
is seen in Birds of Prey and Parrots, but the Laridce have no 
cere. The breast-bone in the Gulls and Terns has two notches 

15 ^' 


on its posterior margin, whereas in the Skuas there is only 
one ; the toes are more or less fully webbed, but the claws are 
small and feeble, whereas in the Skuas the latter are terribly 
curved and sharp. 

The family Laridce is divided by Mr, Howard Saunders into 
three sub-families, viz., the Terns i^Steriimce)^ the Skimmers or 
Scissor-bills i^Rhynchopitue)^ and the Gulls i^LarincB). The 
Scissor-bills are entirely tropical, and are found in South 
America, Africa, and India. They are river Terns, with 
a most peculiar bill, which is not only compressed like a knife- 
blade, but the lower mandible is produced far beyond the 
upper one. These Scissor bills only frequent rivers^ where 
they nest on the sand-banks. 

In the compilation of the following notes on the LaridcB 
I have borrowed largely from the recent writings of Mr. 
Saunders. He has so completely made the subject his own, 
having studied the group minutely for the past thirty years, 
that there seems to be little left for anyone to discover, as 
far as the description of the plumages go. I have therefore 
adopted his conclusions, and have quoted many of his notes 
on the plumage and habits. 


I have already alluded to the characters which distinguish 
the La7'idce, from the Skuas, viz., the absence of a cere, the 
double-notched sternum, the fully webbed toes, and the feeble 
claws. The range of the family extends over the whole of the 


Although it is very difficult to say where the Terns end and 
the Gulls begin — for a large Tern is very like a small Gull — 
Mr. Saunders has given a clear definition of the characters 
which distinguish the three sub-families of the Laridce. To 
the Scissor-bills {Rhynichopince) I have already referred, and 
their peculiar bill separates them at once. The Terns differ 
from the Gulls in the form of the bill, which is slender and 
nearly straight, the two mandibles being almost equal in length. 
The tail is slightly or distinctly forked. 


The Terns are nearly cosmopolitan in their distribution, as 
they are found in most of the seas of the Old and New Worlds. 
Many are marsh and river Terns, as will be seen in our 
enumeration of the British species. 


Hydrochelido7i^ Boie, Isis, 1822, p. 563. 

Type, H. nigra (Linn.). 

The Black Terns are only four in number, and three of these 
have occurred within our limits, namely, the White-winged 
Black Tern, the Whiskered Tern, and the Black Tern. The 
latter, H. tiigra, is an Old World species of wide range, and is 
replaced in America by H. suriniunensis, which is a darker 
bird with blacker feet, nesting in temperate North America, 
and extending to Central and South America in winter. 


Sterna nig7'a^\Jvcm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 227 (1766); Seebohm, Hist. 

Brit. B. iii. p. 254 (1885). 
Hydrochelidon nigra, Macgili. Brit. B. v. p. 658 (1852); Dresser, 

B. Eur. viii. p. 327, pi. 592 (1876); B. O. U. List Brit. B. 

p. 185 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 516 

(1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 617 (1889); Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Brit. B. part xxxviii (1894) ; Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. 

Mus. XXV. p. 17 (1896). 

{Plate XCIV.) 

Nestling. — Fawn colour above, with black markings arranged 
in pairs on the back and sides of the rump, with a single patch 
on the mantle ; the head with a line of black above each eye, 
and a triple line on the nape ; sides of face white ; the under 
surface of body clove-brown, becoming darker brown on the 
throat and sides of body. 

Youn^ in First Plumage. — Differs from the winter plumage 
of the adult in having all the feathers of the back and wings 
tipped with brown, this colour obscuring the whole of the 

B 3 


mantle ; the head and nape blackish, the forehead whiter ; 
round the hind neck a broad collar of white ; sides of face and 
under surface of body pure white, excepting for a patch of 
ashy-brown on each side of the upper breast. 

Adult Male. — General colour above slate-grey, a little paler on 
the wing-coverts, the small coverts round the carpal bend of 
the wing being white ; the bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and 
quills dark slaty-brown, externally frosted with light ashy-grey, 
and paler grey on the inner web, the shafts of the primaries 
white ; the upper tail-coverts and tail-feathers slightly paler 
slate-colour and inclining to pearly grey; crown of head black, 
overspreading the hind neck towards the mantle ; the under 
surface of the body leaden-black, deepening on the throat and 
chest ; thighs, sides of lower flanks, under tail-coverts, as well 
as the under wing-coverts, white ; the lower greater coverts pale 
peaily-grey hke the quill lining; axillaries leaden-grey; bill 
black; feet reddish-brown. Total length, 9-5 inches; culmen, 
1-25 ; wing, 8'4; tail, 3*i5 ; tarsus, o-C ; middle toe and claw, 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but slightly paler in 
colour. Total length, 9-6 inches; wing, S'l. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Distinguished by the white under 
surface from the summer plumage, the forehead being white, 
and the hinder crown and centre of the nape black, the feathers 
having hoary-white margins ; sides of face, sides of neck, and 
a collar round the hind- neck white, like the under surface of 
the body. 

Characters.— The adult Black Tern is easily recognised from 
the other British species of Hydrochelidon, in summer plumage, 
by its pale grey under wing-coverts, these being black m. 
H. leiicoptera and white in H. hybrida. The grey upper 
tail-coverts and tail distinguish it from H. leucoptera^ which is 
black underneath, not dark leaden-grey as H. nigra is. From 
H. hybrida it may be distinguished by its black bill and black 
sides of the face. 

In winter plumage the three species are more difficult to 
discriminate, but H. nigra and H. hybrida have the tail grey 
and the rump also grey like the back. H. nigra is a smaller 


bird than H. hybrida with a more slender bill, and the ^Yebs of 
the feet are not so much incised. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Black Tern is no longer known 
as a breeding species in England, but in former times it used to 
nest in the marshes of the east coast. But for the draining of 
the fen-lands the species might yet be found nesting, and I 
have myself seen birds in full breeding plumage, passing north 
along the shores of the Kentish coast in May. According to 
Mr. Howard Saunders, the last recorded eggs were taken in 
Norfolk in 1858, though early in the century the nests of the 
" Blue Darr," as the bird was called, might have been found in 
hundreds on the alder swamps. In the autumn the birds 
return southwards, and during the gales which then frequently 
prevail, they are driven inland along the rivers, so that I have 
more than once been fishing on the Thames at Cookham, in 
September, with several of these pretty birds flying round me, 
during the prevalence of a strong easterly gale. The species 
occurs much more rarely on the west coast of England than 
upon the east, and is found only as a straggler in the northern 
parts of the British Island, and as a rare autumn visitor to 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Black Tern breeds in 
suitable localities throughout Europe, south of 6o°N. lat, and as 
far eastwards as Western Turkestan. It winters in Africa, reaching 
to Loango on the west coast and the shores of Abyssinia on the 

Habits.— When seen in spring, proceeding northward, the 
Black Tern follows the usual habits of the family, flying at a little 
distance from the shore, just out of gun shot, and dipping at 
intervals into the sea to capture some small prey and then 
beating its way onward. Under such circumstances I have 
seen it both in spring and autumn on the coasts of England, 
but in its usual haunts on the Continent it is an inland species, 
and I saw it in the Hanzag marshes in Hungary in May, 
where it was nesting. When disturbed the birds fly up, uttering 
a harsh note like the syllable " crick " ; but they have another 
note more drawn out, which Mr. Seebohm very well expresses by 
Ke-e-e. The food of the Black Tern consists of small fishes, 
but it also feed on leeches, worms, and even on insects, for it 


has been known to capture dragon-flies on the wing, and, 
according to Mr. Howard Saunders, it has been seen by Mr. 
F. S. Mitchell to " swoop down on the field-crickets {Acheta 
campesfris) during their momentary appearance at the entrances 
of their burrows." 

Nest. — The Black Tern does not begin to nest before the 
end of May, and it then breeds in colonies in the marshes or 
by shallow pools. The nest is a substantial structure of 
decaying plants and weeds, on heaps of wrack which rise and 
fall with the water, or on the firmer hummocks of the bog. 

Eggs. — Three in number only. Ground colour varying from 
deep clay- colour or pale chocolate to greenish-grey and stone- 
colour or buff, the markings generally consisting of black 
blotches, which are mostly confluent. Sometimes the markings 
are smaller and take the form of scattered dots or scribblings. 
The underlying spots are grey and are not very distinct. In the 
Seebohm collection in the British Museum there are some 
specimens in which the spots and blotches are perceptibly 
rufous, though generally they range from a dark chocolate- 
brown to absolute black. Axis, 1-3-1 -45 inch; diam., 0.9 


Sterna hybrida, Pallas, Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. ii. p. 338 (18 it); 
Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 260 (1885). 

Hydrochelidon leucopareia (Natt) ; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. d^T^ 

Hydrochelidon hybrida, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 315, pis. 588, 
589 (1887) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 184 (1883) ; Saun- 
ders, ed.Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 527 (1884); id. Man. Brit. 
B. p. 621 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part, xxviii. 
(1894) ; Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p 10 (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above light slaty-grey ; lower 
back, rump, upper tail-coverts and tail of the same colour as 
the rest of the back, the outermost tail-feather being white 
along the outer web ; wing-coverts like the back ; quills dusky, 
frosted with pearly-grey on the outer webs ; the shafts of the 
primaries white, the outer ones with the greater part of the 


inner webs also white; crown of head and nape black ; under 
surface of body slaty-grey, deepening into blackish towards 
the abdomen and paling into white towards the chin ; sides of 
face from the base of the bill to the sides of the neck white, 
forming a band which contrasts strongly with the black head 
and grey cheeks ; under tail-coverts, under wing-coverts, and 
axillaries, pure white or with a slight tinge of grey on the latter; 
" bill blood-red ; feet vermilion, drying to orange colour " 
{Saunders). Total length, 10-5 inches; culmen, 1-3; wing, 
9-3; tail, 3-45; tarsus, 0-9. 

Adult Female.— Similar to the male, but somewhat paler in 
colour. Total length, 97 inches; wing, 8-9. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage in 
being white underneath, and in having a white collar round the 
hind neck ; crown of head white, mottled and spotted with 
black on the hinder crown and nape, and the upper surface 
paler grey. 

Young. — Differs from the winter plumage of the adult in 
having the hinder part of the head blacker, and the upper 
surface of the body mottled with large or small black spots 
which are varied with sandy-buff spots or bars. 

Nestling. — Sandy-buff, inclining to golden-buff on the fore- 
head and mantle ; the upper surface prettily striped or spotted 
with regular lines of black ; the throat sooty black ; rest of 
under parts white, the sides of the body being sandy-buff. 

Characters. — The adult bird is easily distinguished from 
H. leucoptera by the grey upper and under tail-coverts, and 
from H. nigra by the red bill and white chin and sides of face, 
as well as by the white under wing-coverts. In winter plumage 
the species may be distinguished from the adult of H. leucoptera 
by its grey tail, and from the young of the latter species, which 
has a grey tail, by the absence of white on the rump, which is 
to be found in the young of the White-winged Black Tern. In 
winter plumage H, hyhrida has a grey rump, like the back, and 
it thus resembles the winter dress of H. nigra., but it is a 
larger bird than the latter, has a stouter bill, and has the webs 
of the feet much incised. 


Rang-e in Great Britain. — The Whiskered Tern is an acci- 
dental visitor to the British Islands, and the occurrences of 
the species are only some hnlf-dozen at number, specimens 
having been obtained in Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, 
Norfolk, and Yorkshire; while Ireland has one record from 
the River Liffey. One of these birds was obtained in May, 
another on Hickling Brond in June, and the remainder in 

Range Outside the British Islands. — Tliis is a species of 
Southern Europe, rarely reaching Northern Germany aud the 
British Islands ; but it extends eastwards at about the same 
latitude to China, and visits Africa, India (breeding in both 
these countries), and the Malayan Archipelago, as far as 
Australia, in winter. It apparently wanders to the eastern coasts 
of America occasionally, as the British Museum possesses a 
specimen procured by Sir R. Schomburgk in Barbados. 

Habits. — Like the preceding species, this is a Marsh Tern, 
and in habits it resembles //. nigra^ the food being the same 
in both species. It nests in colonies. 

Nest. — This is generally a mass of weeds, and is often found 
floating on the surface of the water. In Southern Spain, 
where large colonies of the Whiskered Tern are met with. 
Major Willoughby Verner visited a breeding -colony of these 
birds at La Janda, on the yth of May, 1875, and found 
several hundred nests floating on the top of the water ; they 
were simple platforms of reeds and rushes, and were kept from 
drifting to some extent by the young rushes growing up in the 
water. Only two nests contained a single egg. Five days 
later over thirty nests contained eggs. In the interval between 
the visits a strong wind had arisen, and had blown away many 
of the Terns' nests along the water, till they were packed in a 
dense mass on the lee side of the Laguna.* 

Eg-gs. — Three in number. Prevailing ground-colour green- 
ish-grey, sometimes clay-colour, the markings of the eggs 
being similar in character to those of the allied Terns, but 
rather more scattered and distinct, while in some examples the 

* Irby, Orn. Straits Gibraltar, 2nd ed., p. 293. 

, I 




spotting and scribbling is very minute, and the underlying 
grey spots are more distinct than in eggs of H. kiicoptera. 
Axis, i*4-i'7 inch; diam., \'\-\2. 


Stenia leucoptera^ Meisner & Schinz, Vog. Schweiz, p. 264 

(1815); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 257 (1885). 
HydrochcUdon hucoptera, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 661 (1852); 

Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 321, pis. 590, 591 (1875); 

B. O.U. List Brit. B. p 185 (1883); Saunders, cd. 

Yanell's Brit. B. iii. p. 552 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. 

p. 619 (1889) ; Liiford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxix. 

(1894); Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 6 (1896). 

{Plate XCV.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above dark slate-colour ; head 
and neck black, this colour overspreading the mantle ; lower 
back, rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail pure white ; lesser 
coverts round the bend of the wing white, the rest of the 
wing-coverts pearly- grey, the innermost greater coverts rather 
darker and more slaty-grey ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and 
quills dusky, externally frosted with pearly-grey, the inner 
primaries being almost entirely of this colour, the innermost 
secondaries darker slate-grey ; entire under surface of bod)'', 
from the chin to the vent, black, including the under wing- 
coverts and axillaries ; vent, under tail-covcFts, and edge of 
wing pure white ; " bill livid red ; feet orange red '\H. Saunders), 
Total length, 9*0 inches; culmen, 0-95; wing, 8'o; tail, 2*7; 
tarsus, 07. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male in colour. Total length, 
87 inches ; wing, ^•'Ty. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage 
in being pearly-grey above and white below, a collar round the 
hind neck and forehead also white ; fore part of crown mottled 
with black, which is much more apparent on the nape, and 
forms a spot on the ear-coverts. 


Young. — Similar to the winter plumage of the adult, but 
browner, by reason of the brown tips to all the feathers of the 
upper surface ; a black patch on the hinder crown and nape as 
well as a black spot on the ear- coverts, the latter much 
more distinct. 

Characters. — In summer plumage the present species is easily 
distinguished from its British allies by its white upper tail- 
coverts and tail, its black under surface and under wing-covcrts, 
and by the white wing-coverts along the carpal bend of the 
wing. In winter plumage the adult bird is still known by its 
white tail, but young birds have grey tails like the winter plum- 
age of the other species of Hydrochelidon. In a properly 
prepared skin, however, there is always some white on the 
rump, i?itervening between the grey of the back and the grey of 
the tail, in H. leucoptera. 

Range in Great Britain. — The White-winged Black Tern has 
occurred many times on our southern and eastern coasts in 
summer, and Mr. Howard Saunders states that he knows of 
only two occurrences of the bird in autumn, one having been 
killed near Ilfracombe in North Devonshire in November, 
while another was shot in Dublin Bay in October, 1841. Two 
others have been shot in Ireland in spring. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species nests in 
the marshes of Central and Southern Europe and throughout 
temperate Asia to China, wintering all over Africa, certain parts 
of India and Ceylon, and throughout the Malayan Archipelago 
to Australia and New Zealand. It occasionally wanders to 
America, where it has been recorded from Wisconsin and from 

Habits. — These appear to be very similar to those of the 
Black Tern, in company with which it nests in Central Europe, 
but in Southern Russia Mr. Howard Saunders says that large 
and distinct colonies are formed. The flight is said by the 
same observer to be more rapid and its note to be harsher than 
that of H\ ?iigra, but its food is similar to that of the last- 
named species. 

Nest. — Similar to that of the Black Tern. 



Esgs. — Three in number. Ground-colour deep clay oi 
stone-buff with an olive shade, spotted with chocolate-brown, 
deepening to blackish and forming irregular blotches on 
different parts of the egg, as much in the middle as towards 
the end of the latter. The underlying marks of grey are not 
very evident. Axis, i'35-i'45; diam., o-95-i-o5. 


Gelochelido7t, Brehm, Vog. Deutschl. p. 774 (1831.) 

Type, G. anglica (Mont.) 

In this genus the outer tail-feathers are very pointed, and 
exceed the others in length. The bill is very stout and obt^jse ; 
the tarsus is longer than in most of the Terns, and exceeds 
the middle toe and claw in length ; the tail is short, being 
less than half the length of the wing. 

The single species, G. anglica^ is found in the temperate and 
warm portions of the Atlantic Ocean on both sides, also in the 
Indian Ocean and Australian seas, but it is not known from 
the Pacific side of America. 


Sterna anglica, Mont. Orn, Diet. Suppl. (18 13); Dresser, B. 

Eur. viii. p. 295, pi. 585 (1877); B. O. U. List Brit. B. 

p. 182 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 531 

(1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 263 (188^5); 

Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 623 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. 

Brit. B. part xxix. (1894). 
Gelochelidon anglica, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 666 (1852); 

Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 25 (1896). 

^Plate XCVI.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above pearly-grey, including the 
wings and tail, the outer feathers of the latter inclining to 
greyish-white on the outer webs; quills darker ashy-grey, 
frosted with pearly-grey externally, the primaries with white 
shafts and a great deal of white along the inner web; 
secondaries narrowly edged with white at the tips ; head and 


nape glossy-black, continued into a nuchal crest and extending 
across the upper part of the lores to the base of the nostrils ; 
lower part of the lores, sides of face, and entire under surface 
of body white, including the under wing-coverts and axillaries ; 
" bill black, occasionally reddish at the base of the lower 
mandible ; tarsi and toes black with a reddish tinge ; iris hazel- 
brown " (//. Saiindo's). Total length, 14-5 inches; exposed 
part of culmen, i-6; wing, 12*5 ; tail, 5*0; tarsus 1-5. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but somewhat snaller and 
the bill not quite so robust. Total length, 14-0 inches ; wing, 


Adult in Winter Plumage.— Differs from the summer plumage 
in being slightly paler, the wings more frosted with hoary-grey, 
and the white on the outer tail-feathers more distinct than in 
summer ; crown of head white, the hinder crown narrowly 
streaked with black and mottled with black on the nape ; in 
front of the eye a black spot. 

Young. — Similar to the winter plumage of the adult, but the 
streaks on the head greyish-brown and not so distinct, the 
whole of the grey colour of the upper surface obscured by ashy- 
brown or brownish-buff, the feathers being mottled with a 
sub-terminal bar of darker brown. 

Nestling. — Stone-buff, with black streaks and spots along the 
back and on the head and sides of the crown ; under surface 
of body dull white. 

Characters. — These are given under the heading of the 

Range in Great Britain.— The Gull-billed Tern is only an 
accidental visitor to England, having occurred several times in 
spring and summer, principally in Norfolk, but also at different 
places on the south coast, the most northerly occurrences 
having taken place near Blackpool in Lancashire, and near 
Leeds in Yorkshire. One specimen has been recorded 
from Belfast Lough in Ireland, but having been submitted 
to Mr. Saunders, he found it to be an Arctic Tern ! 

Range outside tlie British Islands. — In the Old World the Gull- 


billed Tern nests with greater or less frequency throughout the 
Mediterranean region and occurs accidentally in more northern 
localities, though it breeds regularly on the western coast of 
Denmark and the island of Sylt. Its range extends through 
temperate Asia to Southern China, whence it is found through 
the Malayan Archipelago to Australia, breeding in the latter 
continent. In North America it occurs on the eastern side 
from New Jersey southwards, reaching to the Argentine 
Republic, but not occuring on the Pacific side except on the 
coast of Guatemala. 

Habits. — The food of this species consists of small fish, frogs, 
and Crustacea, and it also feeds on grasshoppers, locusts, and 
beetles, besides other flying insects. During the breeding 
season Mr. Saunders says that the note is like the syllables 
che-ah^ but at other times the bird utters a laughing af-af-af 
like a Gull. 

Nest. — Seebohm visited a colony of Gull-billed Terns on 
an island in a lagoon off the coast of Asia Minor. The nests 
were either a natural depression in the sand, or consisted of a 
slight hollow made by the birds themselves, with a few bits of 
seaweed or dead grass as an apology for a nest. 

Eg-gs. — Generally two, sometimes three in number, and inter- 
mediate in character between the eggs of Gulls and Terns. 
The general colour is a pale stone-buff, occasionally with an 
olive-greenish tinge, the spots never very large and distributed 
over the egg in tolerably equal profusion and seldom forminjj 
blotches of any size. The underlying markings are as large 
and almost as much in evidence as the dark overlying ones, 
sometimes being even more distinct than the latter. Axis, 
I •8-2-5 inches; diam., rsS-i'SS- 


Hydroprogne^ Kaup, Natiirl. Syst. p. 91 (1829). 

Type, H. caspia (Pall.). 

This genus is represented by a single species, of nearly 
cosmopolitan range. It is distinguished by its large size and 
blood-red bill, The outer tail-feathers are pointed, and exceed 


the Others in length. The tarsus is short, being less than the 
middle toe and claw in length, and the tail is very short, being 
less than one-third of the length of the wing. 


Sterna caspia, Pall. Nov. Comm. Petrop. xiv. i. p. 582, tab. xxii. 

fig. 2 (1770) ; Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 289, pi. 584 (1877) ; 

B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 182 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's 

Brit. B. iii. p. 536 (1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. 

p. 268(1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 625 (1889); 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxviii. (1894). 
Sylochelidon caspia, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 626 (1852). 
Hydroprogne caspia, Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 32 


Adult Male. — General colour above pearly-grey, the rump and 
upper tail-coverts like the back and hardly any paler in tint ; 
wing-coverts like the back, the bastard-wing and primary- 
coverts rather paler grey and more frosted in appearance ; 
primaries grey with white shafts, the greater part of the webs 
frosted, the inner web blackish along the inner margin, this 
blackish shade increasing in extent towards the outermost 
primaries, and occupying the entire inner web of the first one ; 
secondaries like the back, with the inner webs slightly more 
dusky-grey ; tail pearly-grey, with white shafts to the feathers, 
the outermost pointed and only slightly exceeding the others 
in length ; crown of head and nape glossy black, the crest not 
elongated ; this black extending below the eyes in a straight 
line from the base of the upper mandible across the lores ; 
remainder of the lores, sides of face, ear-coverts, and a spot 
under the eyes white, like the entire under surface of the body; 
axillaries and under wing-crests white, the inner face of the 
primaries distinctly blackish ; "bill vermilion-red, sometimes 
horn-coloured at tip ; tarsi and toes black " (^Saunders). Total 
length, 19 inches; culmen, 2 "65 ; wing, 16*5 ; tail, 5*5 ; tarsus, 

Adult Female. — Not to be distinguished from the male in 
colour, but with a weaker and less brilliantly coloured bill. 
Total length, 19 inches; culmer 2'5 ; wing, i6-6 ; tail, 6-2 ; 
tarsus, I "65. 


Adult in Winter Plumage.— Similar to the summer plumage, 
but distinguished by the colour of the crown, which, mstead of 
being wholly black, is white, with broad central streaks of black, 
the sides of the face being similarly marked. 

Immature Birds.— Resemble the winter plumage of the adults 
as regards the crown of the head, but the black round the eye 
and above the ear-coverts is uniform. The back is pearly-grey 
in contrast to the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, 
which are whiter. On the wings, tail, and upper surface of the 
body, in places, are blacker bars or arrow-head markmgs, 
indicating immaturity. 

Nestling: (one day old).— Above, pale buff, inconspicuously 
mottled with dull brown ; under parts dull white. Older nesthngs 
show a greyer tint above {Saunders). 

CHaracters.— The Caspian Tern is distinguished by its large 
size and stout red bill. Other characters are given under the 
heading of the genus. 

Range in Great Britain.— Nine specimens of the Caspian Tern 
have been recorded from Norfolk, and others have been seen 
off the eastern and southern coasts of England from Yorkshire 
and Lincolnshire and Dorset. Mr. E. Bidwell informed Mr. 
Howard Saunders that he had seen an individual of this species 
off the Fame Islands on the 6th of June, 1880. It has not yet 
been recorded from Scotland or Ireland, and the number of 
specimens noted in the United Kingdom is under twenty. 

Range Outside the British Islands.— The present species is found 
throughout the Mediterranean countries, and its breeding range 
in Europe extends to about 60° N. lat , as it nests on the 
islands of Sylt and other localities in the Baltic. Mr. Howard 
Saunders believes that it may also breed, or recently bred, on 
the Dutch coast. It breeds in many parts of Asia, but does not 
reach to Japan, and it also inhabits Australia and New 
Zealand. To many countries bordering the Indian Ocean the 
Caspian Tern is only a winter visitor, as it is to Africa, but it 
nests along the shores of the Persian Gulf and in Ceylon 
In North America it occurs on both coasts, from a httle beyond 
the Arctic Circle to Florida on the Atlantic side and to Cali- 
fornia on the west. 


Habits, — This species, says Mr. Saunders, " is nearly as 
partial to brackish lakes as to the sea-shore, and when 
searching for food it has a characteristic habit of keeping its 
bill pointed downwards, almost at a right angle to its body." 
As might be expected from such a powerful bird, its nature is 
bold, and it makes a vigorous out-cry when its nest is attacked, 
some of the birds swooping down within a few yards of the 
intruder's hend, while the rest of the colony fly round in the 
air above, and add their cries to the general expostulation. 
Mr. H. Parker thus describes his experience of the nesting of 
the Caspian Tern in Ceylon : — 

"The birds at first circled round for a short time, and 
afterw^ards joined a large party of other Terns at a small neigh- 
bouring bank, from which some of them made frequent sallies, 
flying over my head a few times and then returning. Iheir 
cry was a hoarse croak or a scream. 

" Later in the day I found a pair evidently breeding at 
another bank beyond that at which my expedition ended, but 
I could not spare time to visit it. They came out boldly to 
attack my men, and made very determined swoops, often 
coming within three feet of my head. They then rose verti- 
cally above me for fifty or sixty feet, and after flying back 
towards the nests returned to renew the assaults. Ihe more 
timid of the birds, which I presume was the female, occasion- 
ally settled on the nest for a short time, while the male was 
engaged in bullying me. As I told him at the time, it was 
nothing else, for I had not attempted to molest him, and the 
nest was certainly quite half a mile away." 

The food of the Caspian Tern seems to consist almost 
entirely of fish, but it is said to rob other birds' nests of their 
eggs, and to devour young birds as well. 

Nest. — A slight depression in the sand, occasionally lined 
with pieces of shell or a few bents. 

Eggs. — Two or three in number, laid in May or June. There 
is considerable similarity in the eggs of the Caspian Tern to 
those of the Gull-billed Tern, though they are, of course, much 
larger. The general colour is greyish or stone-buff, sometimes 
approaching buffy-white, and the markings consist of scattered 
spots, seldom confluent, of chocolate-brown or even blackish, 


while occasionally they are pale olive-brown. The underlying- 
spots are purplish-grey, and are always distinct. Axis, 2 -3-2 '6 
inches; diam. 17-1-85. 


Sterna, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 227 (1766). 

Type, probably S. fluviatilis (Naum). 

Like the preceding genera, the Terns have the outermost 
tail-feathers much longer than the rest, and pointed. They 
differ from Gelochelidon in having a short tarsus, which measures 
less than the middle toe and claw, and in the case of the genus 
Sterna never exceeds the latter. The tail, according to Mr. 
Howard Saunders, is at least half, and generally more than 
half, the length of the wing. The True Terns are also remarkable 
for their compressed and slender bill. 

They are world-wide in their distribution, and are almost 
exclusively maritime in their haunts. 

Intermediate between the Caspian Terns and the genus 
Sterna is the Indian genus Seena, which has a single river- 
haunting species, Seena seena (Sykes), remarkable for its stout 
bill, which has the genys very short, and its long tail, which is 
more than three-fourths the length of the wing. 


Sterna fluviatilis, Naum. Isis, 18 19, pp. 1847, 1848; Dresser, 
B. Eur. viii. p. 263, pi 580 (1872) ; B. O. U. List. Brit. B. 
p. 180 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 549 
(1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 631 (1889); Lilford, Col. 
Fig. Brit. B. part xx. (189 1) ; Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 
XXV. p. 54 (1896). 

Sterna hiriindo, Lath.; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 638 (1852); 
Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 280 (1885). 

Adult Males. — General colour about pearl-grey, including the 
wing-coverts and scapulars, the latter white at the ends ; rump 
and upper tail-coverts white ; primary- coverts pearl-grey, with 
the inner webs more dusky; primaries dark grey externally, 
with white shafts, accompanied by a blacker border along its 
15 c^ 

1 8 Allen's naturalist's library. 

inner aspect, conspicuous on the inner v^-eb, to the tip 
of which it extends, becomes there frosted with grey, and 
ascends along the margin of the inner web for some Httle 
distance; the first primary blackish along the whole of the 
outer web; secondaries grey, with dusky shaft-lines, white along 
the inner webs and at the tips of the innermost quills ; central 
tail-feathers white, the rest white with a grey shade on the 
outer web, increasing towards the outer ones, the external long 
feathers having a dusky blackish outer web ; crown of head 
and nape black, this being drawn through the upper half of the 
lores and along the sides of the crown above the ear-covcrts ; 
sides of face from the lower portion of the lores, and reaching 
to the eye and over the ear-coverts, cheeks, and throat pure 
white j remainder of the under surface of the body, from the 
fore-neck downwards, delicate lavender grey ; under tail-covert^, 
under wing-coverts and axillaries pure white ; "bill coral-red, 
the extreme tip horn-colour ; feet coral-red ; iris dark brown. 
Total length, 15 inches; culmen, I'SS ; wing, lo'S ; tail, 27; 
outer tail-feathers, 77; tarsus, 0-85. 

Adult Female. — Similar in colour to the male. Total length, 
12-5 inches; culmen, i'35; wing, 107; tail, 57; tarsus, 07. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage 
in wanting the black cap, the head being black behind, but 
with the forehead and crown streaked and mottled with white; 
the under surface of the body is paler and shows less grey ; the 
bill and feet much duller in colour. 

Immature Birds in First Winter. — P.esemble the winter plumage 
of the adults, but are distinguislied by the forehead being white, 
and by a dark grey band along the marginal upper wing-coverts. 
The under surface of the body is enlirely white. 

Nestling. — Brownish -buff, or stone-buff streaked and spotted 
with black, without any very distinct pattern, the head lighter 
than the back, and more minutely spotted ; edge of wing and 
under parts white, browner on the belly and vent; lores, sides 
of face, and throat brown. As the nestling grows in size the 
black pattern on the upper parts becomes more distinct, and 
the throat fades to a light-brown colour. 

After the downy stage, the feathers of the upper surface are 


all mottled with sandy buff tips, before which is a distinct bar 
of blackish. 

Range in Great Britain. — I cannot do better than quote the 
remarks of Mr. Saunders as to the distribution of the present 
species in the British Isles. He writes : — " Broadly speaking, 
I believe that the Common Tern is the predominant species 
along the shores of the Channel, and on the west side of 
Great Britain as far north as the Isle of Skye ; while on the 
east it is found from Kent to the Moray Firth, and was the 
only species that I observed near Nairn during August, 1885. 
Continuing northwards, w^e find it yielding numerically to the 
Arctic Tern, and showing a liking for fresh-water lochs or 
CGtuaries rather than for exposed islands, though Mr. Harvie- 
Brown states that in 1885 it was nesting abundantly at the west 
end of the Pentland Skerries, while the eastern was occupied 
by a colony of Arctic Terns. I have no conclusive evidence 
of the occurrence of the Common Tern in the Shetlands, 
Orkneys, or Outer Hebrides." Mr. R. J. Ussher says that 
in Ireland it breeds on islands off the coasts of most of the 
maritime counties, and also on lakes in Londonderry, Antrim, 
Tyrone, Armagh, Fermanagh, Cavan, Longford, Roscommon, 
Mayo, and Leitrim. 

Range Outside the British Islands. — The Common Tern is found 
breeding on the coasts, rivers, and inland lakes of nearly every 
country in Europe, from Norway southwards, and the same 
may be said of the whole of Central Asia to the highlands of 
Cashmere and Thibet. In winter its range extends to India 
and Ceylon, and the coasts of Western and Southern Africa. 
It also inhabits temperate North America, breeding as far south 
as Texas, visiting the West Indies in winter, whence it also 
extends to Brazil. It is almost unrecorded from the Pacific 
coast of North America, but an immature bird w^as shot by Mr. 
Osbert Salvin at San Jose de Guatemala in December, 1862. 

Habits. — The motions of this pretty bird in the air are full of 
grace, and as it flies along the sea-shore at a little distance from 
the land, it looks like a slender and graceful Gull, not in the 
least adopting the swift motions of a Swallow, although " Sea- 
swallow " is the name generally applied to it. The Common 

c 2 


Tern breeds in colonies, usually on a shingly beach, and the 
whereabouts of the eggs or young can generally be discovered 
by the anxiety betrayed by the old birds, who hover over the 
spot and keep up a loud chorus of disapproval at the intrusion. 
The young are so like the surrounding shingle in general 
appearance that they are very difficult to distinguish, especi- 
ally as they do not run along the ground like the nestlings of 
the Sand-Plovers, but are fed by the parent-birds for some 
days at least. The old birds bring fish to their little ones, 
and have been known to drop them near to the latter, despite 
the presence of a stranger in their midst. 

The food of the Common Tern consists of small coal-fish, 
sand-eels, shrimps, and small Crustacea ; and it is a very pretty 
sight to see a flock of Terns fishing above a shoal of small 
fry and dipping after their prey. In the autumn, before their 
departure for the south, flocks assemble on the sand or shingly 
beaches, and rest quietly during the time that the tide is out. 
I have seen many large assemblages of these birds on the 
beach near Lydd in Kent, and at the incoming of the tide 
into Romney Hoy, especially if this took place towards even- 
ing, large flocks of terns would often follow the rush of the 
water as it entered the principal channel, and a constant 
chorus of their creaking note, like the syllables kree-e-e, was 
kept up, until at times there was a perfect babel of sound. 
The birds were apparently feeding on the small fish which 
came in with the tide. 

Nest. — A hollow in the sand or shingle; or on the bare earth, 
when the birds breed at a little distance from the water. 
Sometimes a few stems of grass are added as a lining. Mr. 
Robert Read sends me the accompanying note : — " The nesting 
habits of this bird differ much according to site. When the 
nest is made on the sea-shore it usually consists simply of a 
slight hollow scraped in the sand or shingle without any lining 
materials whatever. When, however, the nest is built inland, 
on swampy ground, it consists of a more or less substantial 
structure of dried grasses and stalks, doubtless to keep the 
eggs out of the damp." 

Eggs.— Mr. Read adds : — " Three is the usual number of 
eggs laid, but on more than one occasion I have taken four 


eggs from a nest, all apparently laid by the same bird." The 
general colour of the eggs varies from stone-colour to ochreous- 
buff or olive buff with spots or drops of black often merging 
into confluent blotches, the underlying spots being faint 
purplish-grey and not very distinct. Sometimes the variation 
in the depth of the colour of the eggs is very marked, and 
the ground-colour is so deep a rufous-brown that the black 
markings are scarcely perceptible. The markings are generally 
distributed over the surface of the egg, but are sometimes con- 
gregated in confluent blotches round the larger end. Axis, i '35 - 
1-75 inches; diam., i'i-i'3. 


Siei'na inacmra^ Naum. Isis, 18 19, p. 1847 ; B. O. U. List. 

Brit. B. p. 180 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. 

iii. p. 553 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. (,2>?> (1889); 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxviii. (1894); Saunders, 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 62 (1896.) 
Sterna ^/r/zV^;, Temm. ; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 643 (1852); 

Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 284 (1885.) 
Sterna hirundo^ Miiller (nee Lath.) ; Dresser, B. Eur. viii. 

P- 255. Pl- 579 (1872.) 

Adult Male. — Similar to S. Jtiwiatilis, but distinguished by 
its entirely red bill with no dark tips, and by the much narrower 
and less distinct dark edging along the inner aspect of the 
white shaft of the primaries. According to Mr. Howard 
Saunders the tarsus is shorter than in the Common Tern, and 
does not exceed the length of the middle toe without the 
claw ; " bill blood-red ; feet coral-red ; iris dark-brown." 
Total length, i4"5 inches; culmen, 1-5; wings, io*8 ; tail, 7*0; 
tardus, o'65. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but with the outer 
feathers rather shorter. Total length, 14 inches; wing, io"5. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage 
in wanting the black cap; the forehead and crown being 
mottled with white, and the hinder crown and nape from the 
eyes backwards black ; under parts whiter, with scarcely any 
grey shade on the breast ; bill and feet duller. 

22 ALI.EN'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

Immature Birds in Winter. — These resemble in colour the 
winter plumage of the adult, but, according to Mr. Howard 
Saunders, have the forehead and crown nearly white, a dark 
grey hmid on the upper 7ving- coverts^ more grey on the outer 
webs of the tail-feathers, the under parts white, and the bill 
and feet nearly black. 

Nestling. — Mr. Saunders remarks that there is scarcely any 
difference between the nestlings of the Arctic and Common 
Terns, but the former has a tendency to more pronounced 
black on the throat ; the upper parts have a buffish ground- 
colour which seems to be very variable in tint. 

Young-. — Can always be distinguished from the old ones by 
the sandy-buff bars on the upper surface. The bill is yellow 
at the base, with the tip horn-colour ; the feet (says Mr. 
Saunders) are yellow up to October, afterwards browner. The 
forehead is white, the occiput blackish, the sides of the neck 
and flanks tinged with buff, and there is a considerable amount 
of grey on the outer webs of the tail-feathers. 

Range in Great Britain.— The breeding range of the Arctic 
Tern is more northerly than that of the Common Tern, as it 
nests from the Humber to the Fame Islands northwards 
along the east coast of Scotland to the Orkneys and the 
Shetlands, being the only species of Tern which breeds in 
the latter group of islands. On the west coast of Scotland it 
breeds as far south as the Isle of Skye, and in former times 
it was known to do so as far south as Cornwall. In its 
southern nesting area, however, it seems to be out-numbered 
by the Common Tern. In Ireland, Mr. R. J. Ussher says it 
" breeds on islands off the coast, usually in company with the 
Common Tern, in Donegal, Antrim, Down, Dublin, Wexford, 
Cork, Kerry, Galway, and Mayo. A few breed on an inland 
lake. Lough Carra, in Mayo." Along the shores of Great 
Britain it occurs everywhere on migration, but seldom appears 

Range outside the British Islands. — The distribution of the 
Arctic Tern is thus summed up by Mr. Saunders in the 
twenty-fifth volume of the " Catalogue of Birds " : — " Circum- 
polar and northern regions of the Old and New AVorlds, 


breeding from 82° N. lat. (or higher ? ) down to about 50° N. 
in Europe and 42° in America. In winter southwards to the 
coasts and waters of Peru, ChiH, Brazil, Africa, and even to 
66° S. lat. in the Southern Ocean." 

Habits. — In its mode of life the present species differs but 
little from the Common Tern. It is very bold when its nests 
are in danger, and not only drives off Gulls and Skuas, but will 
also swoop at any man who approaches the vicinity of its nest. 
The young birds assemble in flocks after the nesting season, 
and Mr. E. W. Nelson says that in Alaska, towards the middle 
of August, they are very common on the marshes, and follow 
an intruder about from place to place, uttering an odd, squeaky 
imitation of the notes of the adult birds. They heedlessly 
hover close over bead, and the expression of innocent wonder 
in their soft black eyes makes them amusing little creatures to 

Nest. — A hollow in the sand without linings; but when 
marshy ground is selected Mr. Nelson says that the nest is 
lined with a few grass stems. Sometimes the eggs are laid on 
the bare rock just beyond the reach of the waves. 

E^gs. — Two or three in number, the former being the usual 
complement, according to my correspondent, Mr. Robert 
Read. They are rather smaller than those of the Common 
Tern, and present more variations in colour. While many have 
the characteristic spots and blotches of a similar aspect to that 
of the eggs of Sterna fluviatilis^ there is, in a general sense, a 
distinctly more spotted appearance. Axis, i'4-i'7 inch: 
diam., ii-i*2. 


Sterna doiigalli, Mont. Orn. Diet. Suppl. (1813) ; Dresser, B. 
Eur. viii. p. 273, pi. 581 (1876) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. 
p. 181 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 544 
(1884) ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 277 (1885) ; 
Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 629 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. 
Brit. B, part xxviii. (1894); Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus, 
XXV. p. 70 (1896). 

24 Allen's naturalist's lii^rary. 

Sterna inacdougaUi, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 648 (1852). 
{Plate XCVIL) 

Adult Male. — General colour above delicate pearly-grey, 
slightly paler on the rump and upper tail-coverts and inner 
secondaries, which are margined with white at the ends ; wing- 
coverts like the back, as also the bastard-wing and primary- 
coverts ; quills pearly-grey, the primaries edged on the inner 
web and the secondaries on the outer web, with white ; quills 
pearly-grey, darker on the inner webs, which have rather broad 
borders of white ; the three outer primaries with white shafts, 
emphasized on the first by a blackish outer w^eb, and along the 
inner edge of the white shaft by a line of blackish, becoming 
dark grey towards the end of the feathers ; the second and 
third primaries with a dark grey and broader line along the 
inner length of the shaft, but the outer web frosted with pearly- 
grey ; all the other primaries white-shafted, with darker grey 
on the inner web, broader but not inclining to blackish ; 
secondaries pearly-grey, with w^hite tips and a good deal of 
white on the inner web ; tail-feathers pearly-grey, almost white, 
the long outer feathers nearly entirely white ; crown of head 
and nape black, with a very distinct pointed crest ; hind-neck, 
sides of face, and under surface of the body white, with a 
beautiful rosy blush, which disappears in time; the line of 
black and white on the sides of the head very sharply defined, 
and extending across the lower half of the lores, below the 
eye, above the ear-coverts ; " bill orange at the base, the 
anterior part from the angle black ; tarsi and toes orange-red ; 
by the end of May, in the northern hemisphere, the amount 
of black on the bill has largely increased " (Saunders). Total 
length, 137 inches; culmen, 1*45; wing, 8-8; tail, 5-9; tarsus, 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 13-1 
inches; wing, 8-5. 

Adult in Winter Plumag-e. — Similar to the summer plumage, 
but differing in the forehead being spotted with white, the 
under parts nearly white, with little pink tint ; bill nearly 
black (Sannders). 

Young. — Differs from the adult in being mottled with a black 
sub-terminal bar to the feathers of the upper surface, quills. 


and tail-feathers; a distinct white collar round the hind-neck; 
the crown of the head and nape blackish streaked with white, 
the forehead whiter and streaked with black ; lores and sides 
of hinder crown blackish ; marginal lesser wing-coverts black, 
forming a bar ; " bill black ; feet grey ; iris black " {^Dr. 

Young in First Winter Plumage.— Grey above like the adult in 
winter plumage, but distinguished by the dark band along the 
marginal upper wing coverts ; the head and nape black, the 
forehead white. 

Cliaracters. — The Roseate Tern may be recognised from the 
two preceding species by its long and slender bill, which is 
orange at the base and black at the end, but more especially 
by the inner webs of the primaries being white to the tips. 

Range in Great Britain. — The present species formerly bred in 
small colonies in various places off the coasts of the British 
Isles. The best-known breeding- ground of the Roseate Tern 
was the Fame Islands, but on the west coast Foulney and 
Walney Islands were both resorts for the species, as well as 
some of the Scilly Islands. The late Mr. Henry Seebohm, 
however, believed that the species was practically extinct in 
the British Islands, but under the protective measures now 
adopted at the Fames and elsewhere, the species has resumed 
its nesting in some of its old haunts. 

I have, moreover, received the following interesting note from 
Mr. J. T. Proud, of Bishop Auckland : — " I am glad to say that 
I know of a nice little colony of Roseate Terns breeding with 
the Common and Arctic Terns, in Wales. I have this year 
(1896) spent considerable time in making sure of the correct 
identification of the eggs. I found by marking the nests and 
watching the birds on to them, that the eggs {never more than 
two in number^ were quite different from those of the Arctic 
and Common Terns, and having once made sure of the 
difference, there was no mistaking them." "^ 

Mr. R. J. Ussher says that, in Ireland, the species formerly 
bred on islands off the coasts of Down, Dublin, and Wexford. 

* Mr Proud very kindly sent up the eggs and the bird, which I handed 
over to Mr. Saunders, and he exhibited them at the meeting of the B. O. 
Club on the 20th of January, 1897. 

2 6 Allen's naturalist's libr.\ry. 

Range Outside the British Islands. — The Roseate Tern is a 
maritime species, and is found on most of the coasts of the 
temperate and tropical portions of the Old and New Worlds. 
In many of its southern habitats it is only known as a winter 
visitor, but it also breeds in several of its tropical resorts, 
such, for instance, being Ceylon, the Andaman Islands, New 
Caledonia, and the West Indies. It does not range north 
of 57° N. lat, being, as Mr. Saunders remarks, "merely 
a straggler to the coasts of the North Sea. It has several 
colonies on the west side of France, and a few examples have 
been obtained in the Mediterranean ; while we trace it to the 
Azores and across the Atlantic — by way of the Bermudas — to 
America. There it is found breeding along the east coast 
from New England to Honduras, and throughout the West 
Indies, though it has not yet been obtained on the Pacific 
sea-board." In winter it visits South Africa, the Indian and 
Australian oceans, and breeds in Northern Australia. Speci- 
mens from southern localities are often found in full breeding 
plumage, and we may expect that more nesting-places of the 
species will yet be discovered. 

Habits. — The Roseate Tern is so called on account of the 
beautiful rosy blush which is seen over the white under parts, 
a feature which, unfortunately, disappears gradually in preserved 
specimens, though traces may still be seen in skins which have 
been in cabinets for years. There is little to say about its 
habits, which are like those of other Terns, except that it is 
more exclusively a maritime species than the Arctic or Common 
Terns. Its note is said to be a somewhat harsh " crake." 

Nest. — As with other Terns, there is generally no real nest, a 
slight hollow in the sand being made for the reception of the 
eggs, though occasionally a few bits of dried grass form the 
scanty lining. 

Eggs. — Mr. Proud tells me that the eggs are invariably two in 
number. Seebohm says two or three are found, and Mr. 
Howard Saunders records instances of four being met with, 
probably the produce of two females. In general colour the 
eggs of the Roseate Tern resemble those of the Common Tern, 
but they are somewhat more elongated, and the markings 
are smaller and more scattered, the grey underlying markings 



being often very distinct. In one specimen in the British 
Museum the ground-colour is purplish-buff with brown spots. 
Axis, I -55-1 -85 inch; diam. 1*05-1 -2. 


Sterna cantiaca^ Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 606 (1788); Macgill. 
Brit. B. V. p. 630 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 301, 
pi. 586 (1877); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 183 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 540 (1884); See- 
bohm. Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 272 (1885); Saunders, Man. 
Brit. B. p. 627 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxix. 
(1894) ; Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 75 (1896.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above dark pearly-grey, the 
scapulars tipped with white; wing-coverts like the back, with 
the bend of the wing white ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and 
quills darker pearly-grey, especially the primaries, which are 
frosted externally with dark grey ; the four outer primaries with 
white shaft, accompanied by a blackish band along its inner 
aspect to the end of the feathers, the rest of the inner webs 
white ; inner primaries and secondaries white, with more or 
less grey on the outer webs ; upper tail-coverts and tail white ; 
crown of head and nape blue-black, the crest-feathers pointed ; 
the lower half of the lores, sides of face, sides of neck and a 
collar round the hind neck, as well as the under surface of the 
body with the under wing-coverts and axillaries, pure white. 
Total length, i6"5 inches; culmen, 2-3; wing, ii-8; tail, 6-5; 
tarsus, I "I. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 16-5 
inches ; wing, i2'o. 

Adult in Winter. — Differs from the summer plumage in 
wanting the black head, the forehead being white, with a black 
spot in front of the eye ; the crown white, with a few narrow 
black streaks, and the nape more thickly streaked with black. 

Young. — Mottled all over with sub-marginal or sub-terminal 
bars of black ; along the lesser wing-coverts a band of ashy- 
grey ; tail-feathers dusky at tips and barred or spotted with 
black ; bill horn-coloured, yellowish at the base of the under 


Nestling. — Clothed in greyish down with a sandy-buff tinge, 
the head somewhat white, and all the upper parts mottled with 
dusky blackish, very indistinctly; below white; bill yellowish ; 
feet greyish-brown, the webs paler. 

Characters. — The Sandwich Tern is the largest of our indi- 
genous Terns, the wings exceeding twelve inches in length. 
The feet are black, and the bill is black with a yellow tip. 
The feathers of the nape are pointed and form an elongated 

Range in the British Islands. — This species is a summer visitor 
to Great Britain, and still breeds regularly on the Fame Islands 
as well as in a few other localities in England and Scotland, 
on both the east and west coasts. In several places, such as 
the Scilly Islands, where the species was formerly known to 
breed, it is no longer seen during the nesting season. Mr. 
Ussher says that in Ireland it is "only known to breed at 
the present day on one small lake near Ballina, in Mayo, where 
it is strictly preserved. It has disappeared from its former 
breeding place on the Rockabill, Co. Dublin." 

Range outside the British Islands. — The following extract from 
j\Ir. Saunders' recent volume on the Laridce gives the range 
of the Sandwich Tern with a preciseness which leaves me 
nothing to improve upon : — " Atlantic and North Sea coasts 
from the Orkneys southwards to the Mediteranean Black Sea, 
and Caspian (breeding) ; in winter, along the west coast of 
Africa to the Cape of Good Hope and up to Natal, down the 
Red Sea, and across Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf, 
Mekran coast, and Karachi. East side of America from 
southern New England to British Honduras, not breeding to 
the northward of Florida ; only found on the Pacific side on 
the coast of Guatemala and vicinity, where the continent is 
very narrow." 

Habits. — Seehohm thus describes a visit to the Fame Islands 
in 1870, when the Sandwich Terns were nesting in some num- 
bers : — "On a gently sloping sand-bank leading up to the 
centre of the island, Avhich was merely a mass of shelving rock 
perhaps thirty feet across, there was a large colony of the 
Sandwich Tern. In the thick of them there must have been 


on an average a nest per square yard. The birds, which were not 
then sitting (it was the 3rd of June), soon discovered that their 
colony was being invaded, and flew in hundreds over us for a 
short time." Besides taking the eggs of other species, such as Eider 
Ducks, Gulls, &c., he states that he saw more than two hundred 
eggs of the Sandwich Tern. " In the year when I found them 
in still greater abundance, they had chosen the same locality 
for their colony ; but they were so much molested that they 
soon deserted the place and moved their quarters to the grass- 
covered island adjoining, where their eggs where in such pro- 
fusion that we inadvertently trod on many of them. In this 
locality many of the birds had arranged the scattered bits of 
dead weed which were lying about into the semblance of a 
nest. In addition to the Krr-ee, which seems, in a more or less 
modified form, to be common to all the Terns, the Sandwich 
Tern has a note which may be represented by the syllables 
skerr-1'ek. The nesting season in the Fames begins about the 
middle of May." 

Nest. — This is described by Seebohrn as merely a slight 
hollow in the bare sand, in diameter and depth of the dimen- 
sions of a cheese-plate, and he says that the nests and eggs 
were very difficult to distinguish from the sand and fine gravel 
by which they were surrounded. The nests are, however, 
sometimes more substantial structures of bents. 

Eggs. — Two or three in number, rarely the latter. They are 
very handsome and vary to any extent. The ground-colour is 
generally clay- coloured or ochreous-buff, deeper or lighter in 
shade, the spots and markings being black or dark brown, 
often with the purplish-grey underlying spots very distinct and 
quite as plain as the overlying spots and blotches. In many 
examples the spots and scribblings of black are distributed over 
the whole egg, while others are remarkable for their bold 
confluent blotches. Axis, 2-0-2-25 inches ; diam., I'SS-i'S- 


Sterna ancEsthefa, Scop. Del. Flor. et. Faun. Insubr. i. p. 92, 
no. 72 (1786); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 565, 
note (1884); id. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. loi (1895.) 

30 AIJ.EN S naturalist's LinRARY. 

Adult Male. — General colour above sooty-brown, shaded with 
ashy-grey ; the mantle conspicuously greyer than the back ; 
wing-coverts like the back ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and 
quills black, the primaries with brown shafts and a long " wedge " 
of white on the inner web, gradually diminishing in size on the 
inner primaries; upper tail-coverts and tail-feathers brown, shaded 
witli ashy-grey ; the outermost tail-feather white, the next white 
for two-thirds of its length and brown for the terminal third ; 
the next feather white for nearly half its length and brown for 
the terminal half; the white on the central feathers becoming 
gradually reduced in size and confined to the inner web; crown 
of head and nape black, with a white frontal band extending 
backwards in a broad streak over the eye ; a black streak across 
the lores from the base of the bill to the eye ; cheeks, ear- 
coverts, and entire under surface of body white, including the 
under wing-coverts and axillaries ; " bill, tarsi, and feet black, 
the inner webs of the latter considerably excised " {Sau?iders). 
Total length, 15 inches; culmen, i"55; wing, iq-q; tail, 6'6; 
tarsus, o'9. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 15 inches ; 
wings, 10-4. 

Adult in Winter Plumag-e. — Similar to the summer plumage, 
but with the lores and crown mottled with white for a short 
time. [Sannders.) 

Young-.— Sooty-brown above, the head mottled obscurely with 
dull rufous, with which colour the feathers of the upper surface 
are edged ; these rufous margins gradually fading to white and 
ultimately becoming abraded ; under surface of body light 
dove-grey, whiter on the face and throat ; under wing- 
coverts white with a grey shade. 

Young in First Winter Plumage. — Rather more ashy than the 
adults, and with conspicuous white or ashy- white margins to 
the feathers of the back ; the mantle hoary-whitish ; forehead 
and crown white, the hinder crown broadly streaked with 
black ; the nape and hind neck entirely black ; wing-coverts 
brown, the marginal ones black, forming a band. Mr. 
Saunders says that full plumage is not attained till the bird is 
at least two years old. 


Characters. — This species is easily recognised from all the 
other British Terns, except S.fieliginosa, by its white forehead 
and black streak across the lores. The upper surface is sooty- 
black, including the rump, and the manile is lighter, umber- 
brown or ashy-grey, contrasting with the black head. So 
different in style of plumage are the Sooty Terns that they have 
been placed by many authors in a separate genus — Haliplana — 
and the uniform sooty colour of the young bird, only relieved 
by white or rufous tips to the feathers, is quite peculiar among 
the true Terns. Notwithstanding these differences, however, 
Mr. Saunders has come to the conclusion that the Sooty Terns 
cannot be separated structurally and generically from Sterna. 

Ra,nge in Great Britain. — The present species has occurred in 
England only on one occasion, when a specimen was captured 
m September, 1S75, on one of the lightships at the mouth of 
the Thames. The evidence of the occurrence of this example, 
which is now in the collection of Mr. Edward Bidvvell, appears 
to be fairly conclusive, as is admitted by Mr. Saunders, who has 
himself investigated the circumstances. 

Rang-e Outside the British Islands. — The following is the distribu- 
tion allotted to the species by Mr. Saunders in the "Catalogue 
of Birds": — "Inter-tropical and juxta-tropical seas^Gulf of 
Mexico and West Indies ; West Africa, Lower Red Sea, East 
Africa, Madagascar, and Mascarene Islands and Indian Ocean 
generally ; Moluccas, China Sea up to Japan, Pelew Islands, 
New Guinea, Northern Australia, the Fiji, Tonga, EUice, and 
Phoenix groups. In the Low Islands and the Sandwich Islands 
the representative species appears to be S. lunataP 

Habits. — These are doubtle-ss similar to those of the Sooty 
Tern in many respects, but Gilbert remarks that on Hout- 
mann's Abrolhos in Western Australia, he found it breeding, 
and that the species differed from its allies, "inasmuch as, 
instead of being gregarious, each pair remains solitary, and its 
single egg is deposited in the fissure of a rock close to the 
v/ater's edge without any nest or flooring." 

Nest. — None, the single egg being deposited in the holes of 
the loose friable coral sandstone, according to Macgillivi-ay, who 
met with the species on the islands of Torres Straits. 


Eggs, — Ground-colour varying from whitish stone-colour to 
clay-brown, the markings being reddish-brown or black, and 
varying in character from small spots, streaks, and lines or 
scratches, to larger spots or small blotches, never confluent, 
and equally distributed over the surface of the egg ; the under- 
lying spots of purplish-grey distinctly indicated, but seldom 
equalling the overlying markings in prominence. Axis, 175- 
195 inch; diam. i-25-i'35. 


Sterna fuliginosa, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 605 (1788); Dresser, 
B. Eur. viii. p. 307, pi. 587 (1877) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. 
p. 183 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 562 
(1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 292 (1885); 
Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 637 (1889); id. Cat. B. Brit. 
Mus. XXV. p. 106 (1896). 

Adult Male. — Similar to .S' anastheta, but more uniformly 
sooty-black above, the light mantle not being emphasized, and 
thus the black crown is scarcely darker than the remainder of 
the upper surface ; the quills blackish, with a dark ashy 
" wedge " on the inner web of the primaries, not white as in 
S. a?icest/ieta ; " bill and feet black, with a slightly reddish tinge " 
{Saunders). Total length, 14-5 inches; culmen, i'65; wing, 
ii'o; tail, 58; tarsus, 0-85. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 155 inches; 
wing, 1 1 -6, 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Only distinguishable fiom the 
summer plumage by having white flecks on the lores and 
crown {Saunders). 

Nestling. — Mottled above with dusky-blackish and sandy- 
buff, intermixed with a good deal of white on the back and 
rump ; under surface of body whitish, the cheeks and sides of 
the face like the back. As the young bird increases in size, 
the down is replaced by blackish feathers which have sandy- 
rufous or white tips, those on the scapular-plumes being con- 
spicuously white. The under surface of the body is white, 
but the sides of the face are like the crown and are similarly 


Voung- Birds. — The fully-grown young in its first plumage is 
sooty- brown above and below, the under surface being, perhaps, 
a trifle paler, and the lower abdomen white ; the feathers of 
the back, wing-coverts, secondaries, and tail-feathers tipped with 
a bar of sandy-rufous, which soon bleaches to white. 

Characters. — As in the preceding species, the dark colour of 
the upper parts is the chief characteristic. It is a larger bird 
than S. ancBstheta, with a longer wing; and it is further dis- 
tinguished from that species by having the web between the 
middle and inner toe nearly full, and far less excised than in 
S. a]i(V,st]ieta. 

Range in Great Britain. — Only three occurrences of the present 
species in England appear to be beyond dispute, as Mr. 
Saunders says that most of the examples identified as Sooty 
Terns have turned out to be Black Terns. One specimen w^as 
procured at Tutbury, near Burton-on-Trent, in October, 1852 ; 
another near Wallingford, in Berkshire, on the 21st of June, 
1869; and another near Bath on the 4th of October, 1885. 

R9.nge outside the British Islands. — "Tropical and juxta-tropical 
seas, wherever suitable islands and reefs exist ; occasionally 
wandering to Maine in North America and to Europe. Almost 
unknown on the South American side of the Pacific ; other- 
wise very generally distributed '' {^H. Saunders). 

Habits. — The enormous quantities of this Tern which frequent 
certain isolated breeding-places of sea-birds, such, for instance, 
as the volcanic island of Ascension, have often been v,'ritten 
about, and a description of " Wide-awake Fair," as the assem- 
blage of Terns is called on that island, has more than once been 
published. Two hundred dozen of eggs have been collected 
on Ascension in a single morning. Macgillivray, too, speaks 
of the enormous numbers which he found breeding on Raine's 
Islet in Torres Straits. He writes : — " During the month of 
June, 1844, about 1,500 dozen of eggs were procured by the 
party on the island. About the 20th of June nearly one-half 
of the young birds (hatched twenty-five or thirty days previ- 
ously) were able to fly, and many were quite strong on the 
wing. Great numbers of young birds unable to fly were killed 
for the pot ; in one mess of twenty-two men the average 
^5 P 



number consumed daily in June was fifty ; and supposing the 
convicts (twenty in number) to have consumed as many, 3,000 
young birds must have been killed in one month ; yet I could 
observe no sensible diminution in the number of young, a 
circumstance which will give the reader some idea of the vast 
number of birds of this species congregated on a mere vegetated 
sand-bank like Raine's Islet." 

A similar gathering of these Terns during the nesting-season 
has been described and figured by the Hon. Walter Rothschild 
in his " Avifauna of Laysan." 

Nest, — None, the egg being deposited in the sand or among 
the fissures of the volcanic debris of an island such as 

Egg-. — One only. Compared with the eggs of S. afiastheta^ 
the markings, though very similar in character, are, as a rule, 
bolder, and the ground-colour approaches in some specimens 
to a purplish-buff. Axis, i'95-2-i5 inches; diam., i'35-i'55- 


Sterna minufa, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 228 (1766) ; Macgill. 
Brit. B. V. p. 652 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 279, 
pi. 582 (1876); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 181 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 558 (1884); Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 289 (1885) ; Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 
p. 635 (18S9); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxix. (1894); 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 116 (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above pearly-grey, the wing- 
coverts like the back ; lower rump and upper tail-coverts 
white ; bastard-wing pearly-grey, but the primary-coverts 
blackish like the primaries, the first three of which are blackish 
along the outer web and also along the inner side of the shaft 
for the whole length of the quill, broadening on the second 
and third primary, all three of them having the rest of the 
inner web white ; remainder of the primaries pearly-grey, a 
little darker than the back, and with white margins to the inner- 
most; secondaries mostly white, the outer web and the shaft 
dusky-grey ; the innermost secondaries pearly-grey like the 


back ; tail-feathers white ; forehead and feathers above the eye 
white ; crown of head and nape black, as also a line through 
the eye and the lores ; cheeks, sides of face, and under sur- 
face of body pure silky white ; " bill gamboge -yellow, tipped 
with black ; tarsi and feet orange-yellow " (^H. Saimdei-s). 
Total length, 9*5 inches; culmen, 1*3; wing, 6'8 ; tail, 3*4; 
tarsus, o'6. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but with the outer tail- 
feathers scarcely so developed. Total length, 9-0 inches ; 
wing, 6-8. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Similar to the summer plumage, 
but with more white on the forehead, and with the outer 
primaries rather darker towards their ends. 

Young Birds. — These are easily distinguished by the black 
mottling on the feathers of the upper surface, which takes the 
form of circular bars or arrow-headed sub-terminal bars, all the 
feathers being tinged or edged with sandy-buff; the rump 
light pearly-grey, with a shade of the latter colour over the 
upper tail-coverts and tail-feathers; wing-coverts mottled like 
the back, with a dark-grey band along the marginal lesser wing- 
coverts ; forehead sullied white, the crown sandy-buff streaked 
with black, the hinder crown and nape entirely blackish ; a loral 
streak of dusky black; bill blackish, with a slight reddish tinge. 

The sandy colour of the upper surface in the young bird 
quickly disappears, but the black bars are maintained till the 
autumn moult. 

Nestling. — Light sandy-buff, spotted and streaked with black; 
under surface whitish, the throat sandy-buff, with the region of 
the gape dusky. 

Range in Great Britain.— The Little Tern is found nesting in 
scattered colonies on most of the coasts of the British Islands, 
though many localities in the north of England and in Scotland, 
where the species formerly bred, know it no more. It arrives 
from the south early in May, and leaves in September or in 
the first weeks of October. Mr. Ussher says that in Ireland it 
breeds on sea-beaches in Donegal, Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, 
Galway, and Mayo, but in much smaller numbers than the 
Common or Arctic Terns. 

D 2 

^6 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The species extends to about 
60° N. lat. in Europe, is scarce on the northern shores of the Baltic, 
and, as Mr. Howard Saunders says, is " rare on the southern 
shore of that sea, following the course of the large rivers for 
so great a distance — nesting on their islands and sand-banks — 
that it may be said to extend across the Continent to the 
Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas, while it also fre- 
quenis the Atlantic coast." Eastward it ranges to Transcaspia, 
Turkestan, and Northern India, breeding in all these localities. 
In winter it ranges along the coast of West Africa to the Cape 
of Good Hope, and is found at the same season along the 
Burmese coasts as far south as the island of Java. The place 
of the Little Tern is taken by Sterna saundersi in the Indian 
Ocean, the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, and along the coast of 
East Africa to Natal and the Mascarene Islands. 

Habits. — The Little Tern is one of a group of small species, 
distributed over the greater part of the Old World, as well as 
temperate and tropical North America. From their small size 
and different appearance to the ordinary Terns they have often 
been separated from the latter as a distinct genus Siertiula^ 
but Mr. Saunders finds no characters for their generic separa- 
tion from the members of the genus Sterna. 

Nevertheless, any one who has seen the birds on the shore, 
recognises at once a certain difference in the appearance and 
ways of the Little Tern from those of its larger and more 
conspicuous colleagues. This may be due, however, rather 
to the smaller size of ^. miinita^ and its quicker motions, than 
to any real difference in the habits of this small Tern, 
as, after all, the ways of the species of the genus Sterna 
are very much alike. Naturally the small size of the present 
bird renders it less conspicuous than the Common Tern, and 
whereas the colonies of the latter bird can generally be detected 
from some distance, the Little Terns are only discovered by 
a sudden invasion of their nesting-places. The pairs keep 
together, and may generally be seen sitting side by side, though 
they do not permit of a near approach, but fly off before the 
intruder comes within gun-shot. Only when they have young, 
however, are they more venturesome, and fly much nearer 
to the enemy. Such, at least, is my experience, though other 


observers have found the bird quite bold, so much so that it 
has been known to settle down on its nest within sight of the 

Nest. — Mr. Robert Read tells me that in the south-east of 
England he has never found any attempt at a nest, the eggs 
being laid on the bare sand. Thus, too, I have found them 
myself; but on the east coast of Scotland, Mr. Read says that 
he has found some very pretty nests, consisting of a cup- 
shaped hollow scooped out of the sand, and surrounded by a 
ring of broken cockle-shells and other shells of various colours. 

Egg-s. — Generally two, but sometimes three in number, vary- 
ing to a remarkable extent in tint of ground-colour, from 
greyish stone-colour to buff or clay-brown of different shades. 
The markings are generally distributed over the whole surface 
of the egg, and are, as a rule, scattered spots of deep reddish- 
brown or black, occasionally confluent and forming a blotch, 
but it is very seldom that large blotches are seen. The under- 
lying grey spots are always more or less in evidence. Axis, 
I "25-1 '4 inch; diam. o'g-i'o. 


Anoics, Steph. in Shaw's Gen. Zool. xiii. part i. p. 139 (1826). 

Type A. stolidus (L.). 

The Noddies are remarkable for their sombre plumage. 
The tail is graduated, and the outer pair of tail-feathers are 
shorter than the next pair, the fourth pair from the outside 
being the longest. The toes are short, and the middle toe 
and claw do not equal the culmen in length. The bill is 
strong and decurved at the tip, and the distance from the 
angle of the genys to the tip is less than the distance from 
this angle to the gape. (Cf. Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. 
p. 5-) 


Sterna sfolida, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 227 (1766); Seebohm, 

Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 294 (1885). 
Megalopteriis stolidus, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 672 (1852). 

38 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Anous stolidus, B. O. U. List, Brit. B. p. 186 (18S3) ; Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 567 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. 
p. 639 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxix. (1894) ; 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 136 (1896). 

Adult Male in Breeding Plumage. — General colour above dark 
chocolate-brown, rather darker on the rump and upper tail- 
coverts ; wing-coverts like the back ; primary-coverts and quills 
blackish, the inner secondaries chocolate-brown like the back ; 
tail-feathers blackish ; forehead white, extending in a narrow 
line above the eye ; rest of the crown pearly-grey, slightly 
darker on the nape and hind neck ; lores and feathers round 
the eye leaden-black ; eyelid white ; remainder of sides of face 
and under surface of body chocolate-brown, with a shade of 
grey perceptible on the sides of the face and throat, as well as 
on the under wing-coverts ; " bill blackish ; tarsi and feet 
reddish-brown, fully webbed, the webs ochraceous" (H. 
Saunders). Total length, 14*5 inches; culmen, 1*2; wing, 
ii'i; tail, 5*6; tarsus, i"o5. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but slightly smaller, with 
a weaker bill, and, as a rule, somewhat browner on the 
shoulders and wiih less lead-colour on the throat. Total 
length, 14-5 inches ; wing, 10-5. 

Young. — Browner than the adults and rather paler ; forehead 
and crown greyish-brown, with a narrow white superciliary line, 
conspicuous by contrast against the blackish lores. A fledge- 
ling from Ascension Island is umber-brown above and below, 
with the whitish streak above the lores very marked and 
continuous round the base of the bill, and with a slight greyish 
tint on the forehead. A downy nestling about five days old, 
from British Honduras, has the forehead and crown dull white, 
the lores blackish ; the upper surface mouse-brown ; the nape 
and the throat darkest, with the lower parts paler ; another, 
only just hatched is nearly uniform sooty-brown {Saunders). 

Range in Great Britain.— The only examples of the Noddy 
recorded from the British Islands, or, for that matter, from any 
part of Europe, are two specimens obtained in Ireland, off the 
coast of Wexford, between the Tuskar Lighthouse and the Bay 


of Dublin, about the year 1830. One of them is still preserved 
in the Dublin Museum. 

Range outside the Britisli Islands. — The following summary of 
the distribution of the Noddy is given by Mr. Saunders in the 
British Museum " Catalogue of Birds " : — " Tropical and 
juxta-tropical America, chiefly on the Atlantic side, but also 
on the Pacific, in Mexico and the central region ; Atlantic 
down to Tristan da Cunha (breeding) ; inter-tropical African 
and Asian seas, up to Yeddo ; Australasia down to about 35° 
S. ; islands of the Pacific up to Laysan, &c., and as far as Sala 
y Gomez, 105° W.; also Chatham Island, Galapagos (fde 
Ridgway), but not on the coasts of Peru or Chile. Breedmg, 
as a rule, where found." 

Habits. — The Noddies nest in enormous numbers in some of 
the islands of the Southern Ocean, generally in the vicinity of 
the Sooty Tern (S. fidiginosa) with which the Noddy is always 
on good terms. The birds are generally so tame as to be with 
difficulty removed from their nests, but Mr. Palmer says that 
he has known them boldly drive away Albatroses. Gilbert gives 
a good account of the nesting of the Noddy on Houtman's 
Abrolhos off Western Australia, and he declares that the 
increase in the number of the Terns would be overwhelming 
but for the check which nature has provided against it in the 
shape_ of a lizard, which is extremely abundant about their 
breeding-places, finding an easy prey in the Noddy and 
Sooty Terns. "I am satisfied," he writes, "from constant 
observation, that, on an average, not more than one out of 
every twenty birds hatched ever reaches maturity or lives long 
enough to take wing ; besides this, great numbers of the old 
birds are constantly killed. These lizards do not eat the whole 
bird, but merely extract the brains and vertebral marrow ; the 
remainder, however, is soon cleared off by the Dermestes 
lardarius, a beetle which is here in amazing numbers, and gave 
me a great deal of uneasiness and constant trouble to preserve 
my collection from its repeated attacks." The food of the 
Noddy is said by Gilbert "to consist of small fish, small 
mollusca, medusa, cuttle-fish, &c." 

Nest.— -Made of sea-weed, according to Gilbert ; about six 
inches in diameter, and varying in height from four to eight 

40 Allen's naturalists library. 

inches, but without anything like regularity of form ; the top is 
nearly flat, there being but a very slight hollow to prevent the 
egg rolling off. The nests are so completely plastered with 
the excrement of the birds, that at first sight it appears tu be 
almost the only material ; they are either placed on the ground, 
in a clear open space, or on the tops of the thick scrub, over 
those of S. /h'/iginosa. These two species, the Noddy and 
the Sooty Tern, incubate together in the utmost harmony, 
the bushes to an immense extent wearing a mottled appearance 
from the great mass of birds of both species perched on the 
top, the male Sooty Tern sitting quite close to the nest of the 
Noddy, whilst its mate is beneath, performing her arduous 
duties of incubation. (Cf. Gould's Handb. B. Austr. ii. p. 413). 
Sometimes no nest is made and the egg is placed in a crevice 
of rock or coral-reef. 

Eggs. — One only, according to the observations of all recent 
observers. Audubon gives the number as three. They 
are similar to those of the Sooty Tern, and of the same 
character, but they are always much paler and never exceed a 
light stone-colour, the spotting being much more sparsely 
distributed and smaller ; the type with scratches or zig-zag 
markings appears to be absent. On the other hand, there are 
one or two eggs in the British Museum which have distinct 
blotches, confluent at the larger end, and in one example, the 
large end of the egg is taken up by an immense patch of red- 
dish-brown. Axis, 2 "05-2 "1 5 inches; diam. 1*4-1 -5 5. 

Mr. Saunders points out that the yolk of the Noddy's 
egg is yellow, while that of the Sooty Tern is deep orange- 
red. The Hon. Walter Rothschild also calls attention to the 
fact that the inside of the Noddy's egg is darker and more 
green when held up to the light. 


In the Gulls, the bill is w^hat is called " epignathous," 
the upper mandible being longer and bent down over the 
tip of the lower one ; tail usually square, seldom forked, 
exceptionally cuneate. (Cf. Saunders, Cat. J3. Brit. Mus. xxv, 
p. 4 (1895).) 

ii !i r, ;)i \ 

m !i 11 



Xeina^ Leach in J. Ross's Voy. Baffin's Bay, App. ii. p. 57 


Type X. sabi/iii (J. Sabine). 

In this genus the tail is considerably forked, and the wings 
long, the hind-toe being free and very small. 

Only two species of Fork -tailed Gull are known, the 
Arctic X. sabi7iii, and X. furcata of the Galapagos Islands, 
which seems to wander down the Pacific coast of South 
America, as it has been found at Paracas Bay, in Peru. 


Larus sahinii^ J. Sabine, Trans. Linn. Soc. xii. p. 520, pi. 29 

(1818); Seebohm, Hist Brit. B. iii. p. 298 (18S5); 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xx. (1891). 
Gavia sabmii, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 607 (1852.) 
Xema sabi?ni, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 337, pi. 593(1874); 

B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 193 (1883); Saunders ed. 

Yarrell's Brit. B. in. p. 573 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. 

p. 641 (1889) ; id. Cat. B. Mus. xxv. p. 162 (1896). 

{Plafe XCVIII.) 

Adult Male in Breeding Plumage. — General colour above light 
ashy-grey, including the wing-coverts and inner secondaries, 
the latter as well as the greater wing- coverts being tipped with 
white, the latter very broadly, so that nearly the terminal half 
of the external greater wing-coverts is white ; exterior lesser 
coverts, bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and primaries black, 
the latter tipped with white, and having the inner half of the 
inner web longitudinally white, but this not reaching to the end 
of the quill on the first five primaries ; the black much 
diminished on the next two primaries, the inner primaries and 
the secondaries being white ; the innermost secondaries light 
ashy-grey, white at their ends ; lower rump, upper tail-coverts, 
and tail white, the latter conspicuously forked ; head, sides of 
face, and throat dark slaty-grey ; the hind-neck, sides of neck, 
and under surface of body, from the lower throat downwards^ 


pure white; the slaty-grey head being separated from the white 
neck and ciiest by a band of black ; bill black to the angle, 
chrome-yellow anteriorly ; inside of mouth vermilion ; iris dark 
brown, a narrow vermilion ring round the eye, beneath which 
is a white speck ; tarsi and toes brown to blackish. Total 
length, i3"3, culmen, 1*15; wing, ii'4; tail, 4*0; tarsus, i"6. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 12-5 inches ; 
wing, ii'o. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — According to Mr. Saunders, the 
winter plumage is similar to the breeding dress, excepting as 
regards the head, which is white, with grey streaks, which 
coalesce on the nape and hind-neck, producing a greyish-black 
appearance. The quills become worn and faded in colour, 
and their tips abruptly broken off, as if cut artificially ; the bill 
is duller in colour and the tips brown. By the beginning of 
April the new primaries, with broad white tips, are fully de- 
veloped, and the head is plentifully besprinkled with slaty-grey. 

Young.— Ashy-brown above, mottled all over with ashy-buff 
edges to the feathers, emphasized by a sub-terminal bar of 
black; the head rather lighter ashy, with obscure fulvescent 
margins ; lores and base of forehead, as well as a streak behind 
the eye, white, as also the fore part of the cheeks; the feathers 
below the eye and the ear-coverts slaty-grey ; under surface of 
body white, with a large patch of ashy-brown on each side of 
the upper breast, the feathers being margined with ashy-buff; 
tail with a conspicuous black band at the end. 

Range in Great Britain. — Young specimens of Sabine's Gull 
have been frequently obtained off our coast, chiefly in autumn 
and winter, between the months of August and December. 
Two adults in summer plumage have been recorded, one from 
Bridlington, in Yorkshire, and another from the Island of Mull. 

Range outside the Biitisli Islands. — The present species is 
circumpolar in distribution, and breeds throughout Arctic 
America from Baffin Bay to Alaska, whence to the eastward 
it has been found nesting on the Taimyr peninsula, by Dr. Von 
Middendorff. In winter it visits the shores of Northern 
Europe as a straggler, but in the New World it goes as far 
south as the Bermudas and Southern Texas on the Atlantic 
side, and on the Pacific side the species has been found by 


Commander Macfarlane in swarms as far south as Callao Bay, 
in Peru. It has not yet been recorded from Novaya Zemlya 
or Franz-Josef Land, and, according to Mr. Howard Saunders, 
it is very rare or local in Spitsbergen, while it is believed to be 
merely a visitor to Jan Mayen. 

Habits. — Mr. E. W. Nelson has given an interesting account 
of this Gull as observed by him in Alaska. He writes : — " My 
acquaintance with this bird began on my first excursion near 
Saint Michael's, on June 26, 1877. We were caught by a head- 
tide at the mouth of the ' canal,' some fifteen miles from the 
fort and tied up to the bank to await the change. We stopped 
soon after midnight, and taking my gun I strolled off across 
the marshes in the soft twilight. For some time only the 
hoarse cries of distant Loons, or the rolling note of a Crane 
broke the silence. The whole scene was desolate in the 
extreme ; not a living thing could be seen, and the bleaching 
fragments of drift-wood scattered among the numberless ponds 
were all that the wide extent of level marsh presented. About 
1.30 a.m. the sky became brighter, and the rich tones of the 
Swans, mellowed by the distance to a harmonious cadence, 
came from the larger lakes, while various other inhabitants of 
the marsh from time to time added their voices to the chorus. 
In a few minutes a long straggling train of small Gulls was 
seen passing over the ponds in silent procession. Approaching 
them, they were found to be busily engaged in feeding on the 
small fishes and various small larvae found in these pools. Their 
motions and appearance were much like those of Bonaparte's 
Gull, when seen at distance, but they rarely plunged into the 
water like the latter, as the Xemas have the habit of hovering 
gracefully close over the water to pick up a morsel, or of 
alighting for an instant in the water and rising again on the 
wing so lightly that scarcely a ripple is made on the surface. 
Ten or a dozen beautiful specimens were shot without difficulty 
as the birds flew about. Their food throughout the season 
consists of sticklebacks at times, but mainly of such small larv^ 
and crustaceans as occur in brackish ponds. As August draws 
to a close, young and old forsake the marshes to a great extent, 
and for the rest of the season are found scattered along the 
coast, feeding at the water-line on the beaches. 


" On a number of occasions I have mistaken the young of the 
year of these Gulls for Plover or other Waders as they sought 
their food along rocky beaches. In such cases they ran out 
with each retiring wave and back before the incoming one, 
with all the agility of a Wader. 

" Sabine's Gull has a single harsh, grating, but not loud note, 
very similar to the grating cry of the Arctic Tern, but somewhat 
harsher and shorter. When wounded and pursued or captured, 
it utters the same note in a higher and louder key, with such a 
grating file-like intensity that one feels like stopping one's ears. 
It has the same peculiar clicking interruptions which are so 
characteristic of the cry of a small bat held in the hand. A low, 
chattering modification of this is heard at times as the birds 
gather about the border of a favourite pool, or float gracefully 
in company over the surface of some grassy-bordered pond. 
The same note in a higher key serves as a note of alarm and 
curiosity as they fly off overhead when disturbed. When one 
of these Gulls is brought down, the others of its kind hover 
over it, but show less devotion than is usually exhibited by the 

Nest. — The nests are described by Mr. Nelson as having been 
found by him on an island near St. Michael's. " The island," 
he says, " was very low, and the driest spots were but little 
above the water. Built on the driest places were twenty-seven 
nests, containing from one to two eggs each, and as many others 
just ready for occupancy. Four or five nests were frequently 
placed within two or three feet of each other. In about one 
half of the cases the eggs were laid upon the (ew grass blades 
the spot afforded, with no alteration save a slight depression 
made by the bird's body. In the majority of the other nests 
a few grass blades and stems had been arranged circularly 
about the eggs, and in the remainder only enough material had 
been added to afford the merest apology for a nest. 

Eggs. — Two in number, of a very dark olive-brown with 
reddish- brown spots, nowhere very distinct, the underlying grey 
markings being still more obscure. In some examples the spots 
are congregated near the large end of the egg, but, as a rule, 
they are generally distributed over the whole surflice. Axis, 
i"6-i"8inch; diam. i'25--i'35. 


Rhodostethia^ Bp. Comp. List B. Eur. and N. Amer. p. 62 


Type R. rosea (Macgill.). 

The present genus, which contains only a single species, has 
the tail wedge-shaped, the two middle feathers more than half 
an inch longer than the next pair, and nearly two inches longer 
than the outermost tail-feather. 


Lanis roseuSy Macgill. Mem. Wern. Soc. v. no. xiii. p. 249 

Rhodostethia rossi^ Richardson; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 618 


Rhodostethia rosea, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 343, pi. 594 
(1877); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 192 (1883) ; Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 572 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. 
p. 643 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. parts xvii. xxiii. 
(1893); Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 167 (1896). 

Lams rossii, Scebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 305 (1885). 

Adult Male in Breeding- Plumage. — General colour above light 
pearly-grey ; quills pearly-grey, with a blackish outer web to 
the first primary ; secondaries white at the ends ; rump, upper 
tail-coverts, and wedge-shaped tail white ; head and neck all 
round white, with a black collar round the latter ; under 
parts white, the under wing-coverts and quill-linings grey ; 
axillaries white ; bill black ; a vermilion ring round the eye ; 
tarsi, toes, and their webs bright red, 

The whole of the white parts in this species are suffused 
with a beautiful blush of rose-colour, whence the bird is often 
popularly known as " Ross's Rosy Gull." 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Wants the black collar round the 
neck, and, according to Mr. Saunders, the rosy colour is not so 
prominent at this season of the year. 

46 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Young. — Similar to the winter plumage of the adult and wanting 
the black collar. The head, neck, and under surface of the 
body white, with a greyish shade on the crown and a little black 
behind the eye ; tail wTdge-shaped and having a black band at 
the end of all the feathers except the outer ones ; feathers of 
the rump and upper tail-coverts tipped with black ; wing-coverts 
and innermost secondaries black, with indistinct white tips, 
forming a band down the wing ; bastard-wTng and primary- 
coverts black ; primaries black along the outer web and on the 
inner side of the shaft, the rest of the inner weh white, which 
cuts across the end of the inner primaries and forms a sub- 
terminal bar ; the innermost primaries white, with a black tip ; 
the secondaries white ; tarsi and toes brown. 

Range in Great Britain. — One specimen of the Wedge-tail Gull 
has been recorded from England, having been said to have been 
shot near Tadcaster, in December, 1846, or February, 1847. 
This example, formerly in Sir W. Milner's collection, is now in 
the Leeds Museum. Some doubt has been thrown on the 
authenticity of the occurrence, as the specimen appears, in the 
opinion of several naturalists, to have been mounted from a 
skin and not from a freshly killed bird. As Mr. Saunders points 
out, however, the species has occurred in Heligoland, and there 
is nothing improbable in its having turned up in Yorkshire, to 
which I may add that it w^ould have been difficult for a dealer 
to have purchased a skin fifty years ago. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The following range for this 
species is given by Mr. Howard Saunders : — " Arctic Regions, 
N.W. Greenland (Disco); Melville Peninsula; Boothia; Point 
Barrow, N. Alaska, coming from the direction of Herald 
Island; St. Michael's, Alaska (once); icy sea from Bering 
Strait to the mouth of the Lena ; Barents Sea between Franz- 
Josef Land and Spitsbergen, including the latter; Faeroe 
Islands (once); Yorkshire (once); Heligoland (once)." Dr. 
Nansen discovered the breeding-place of this species on some 
islands which he has called Hvitenland, in lat. 80° 38' N., 
long. 63° E. He whites in the " Daily Chronicle," of 
November, 3, 1896: — 

"This, the most markedly polar of all bird forms, is easily 


recognisable from other species of Gull by its beautiful rose- 
coloured breast, its wedge-shaped tail, and its airy flight. 

" It is, without comparison, the most beautiful of all the 
animal forms of the frozen regions. Hitherto it has only been 
seen by chance on the utmost confines of the unknown Polar 
Sea, and no one knew whence it came or whither it went ; but 
here we had unexpectedly come upon its native haunt, and 
although it was too late in the year (August, 1895), ^o ^^^^ '^^^ 
nests, there could be no doubt about its breeding in this region.", 

Habits. — Little is known of the habits of this rare Gull ; Mr. 
John Murdoch, of the U.S. Signal Corps, procured a number 
of specimens at Point Barrow. He writes: — "In 1881, from 
September 28 to October 22, there were days when they were 
exceedingly abundant in small flocks — generally moving 
towards the north-east— either flying over the sea or making 
short incursions inshore. Not a single one was seen during 
the spring migrations or in the summer, but two or three 
stragglers were noticed early in September — a few out among 
the loose pack-ice — and on September 21, 1882, they were 
again abundant, apparently almost all young birds. They 
appeared in large loose flocks, coming in from the sea and 
from the south-west, all apparently travelling to the north-east. 
They continued in plenty for several days — while the east 
wind blew — all following the same track, moving up the 
shore, and making short excursions inland at each of the 
beach lagoons. After September 28th they disappeared till 
October 6th, when, for several days, there was a large flight. 
On October 9th in particular there was a continuous stream 
of them all day long, moving up the shore a short distance 
from the beach and occasionally swinging in over the land. 
JVone were seen to return. The nature of our duties at the 
station prevented any investigation as to where they came 
from or whither they went. They appeared to come in from 
the sea, in the west or north-west, and travelled along 
the coast to the north-east. They were not observed on 
Wrangel Island by either the ' Jeannette,' the 'Corwin,' or the 
'Rodgers,' and yet the direction from which they come to 
Point Barrow in the fall points to a breeding-ground some- 
where in that part of the world. May it not be that some land 

48 Allen's Naturallst's library. 

yet to be discovered, and north of Wrangel Island, will one 
day yield a glorious harvest of the eggs of this splendid species? 
It is difficult to form any idea of what becomes of the thousands 
which pass Point Barrow to the north-east in the autumn. It 
is certain that they do not return along the shore as they w^ent. 
Nevertheless, at that season of the year, they must of necessity 
soon seek lower latitudes. Perhaps the most plausible sup- 
position is that, soon after leaving Point Barrow, perhaps when 
they encounter the first ice-pack, they turn and retrace their 
steps so far out to sea as to be unnoticed from the land, and 
pass the winter on the edge of the ice-field, proceeding north 
to their breeding-ground as the pack travels north in the spring." 

Nest. — As yet undescribed. 

Eggs. — The British Museum contains an egg ascribed to this 
species, from Christianshaab, on the south shore of Disco Bay, 
in Greenland. The old bird is said to have been shot on the 
nest, and its skin sent home with the egg, according to Mr. 
Seebohm, to whose collection it formerly belonged. It is figured 
in his " Coloured Illustrations of the Eggs of British Birds " 
(plate 36, fig 6). The egg of the Wedged-tailed Gull seems 
to be very similar in colour and in character to that of Sabine's 
Gull, but is a little larger. Axis, 1-9 inch ; diam. 1*3. 


Lams, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 224 (1766). 

(Type not indicated.) 

In all the remaining Gulls the tail is nearly, or quite 
square, and in this section of the sub-family Lariiice, Mr. 
Saunders places five genera, characterised principally by the 
size of the hind-toe and its web. Thus the genera Lariis and 
Gaoiajius (the latter containing only one species, G. pacificus 
from the southern ocean) have the hind-toe free, and mode- 
rately or well-developed. 

The genus Lcucopluuis contains only a single species, 
L. scoreshyii, from the extreme south of South America, and 
has the feet coarse and the webs considerably indented, while 
the hind-toe is joined to the inner toe by a rugose membrane. 

In the genus Pagophila, which contains only the Ivory Gull, 



the hind-toe is joined to the inner one by a strong serrated 
membrane, and in the Kitti wakes of the genus Missa the hind- 
toe is obsolete or rudimentary. 


Larus viinutus, Pallas, Reise Russ. Reichs, iii. p. 702, App. 
no. 35 (1776); Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 373, pis. 599, 599A 
(1871); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 191 (1883); Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 589 (1884); Seebohm, Hist. 
Brit. B. iii. p. 301 (1S85); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 647 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxix. (1894); 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 173 (1896J. 

Gavia 7ni?iuta, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 613 (1852). 

Adult Male. — General colour above delicate pearly-grey, the 
wing-coverts like the back, as also the bastard-wing and 
primary-coverts ; quills a little darker pearly-grey, with broad 
white tips, except on the innermost secondaries, which are 
like the back ; the primaries blackish along the inner web, this 
black more extended on the first primaries, the outermost 
being blackish along the outer web also ; rump, upper tail- 
coverts, and tail pure white ; head all round black ; the nape 
and hind-neck, as w^ell as the sides of the neck, pure white, 
extending over the mantle ; under surface of body, from the 
low^er throat downwards, pure white, with a tinge of pink ; 
under wing-coverts and axillaries slaty-grey, the median coverts 
blackish, like the quill-lining ; " bill deep lake-red (reddish- 
brown in preserved skins) ; tarsi and toes vermilion (drying 
orange-red); iris brown" (H. Sarmders). Total length, 10-5 
inches; culmen, 0*85; wing, 8-91 ; tail, 3"55; tarsus, 1-2. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 10*2 inches ; 
wing, 8-3. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Wants the black head of the 
summer plumage, the forehead being white, and the vertex, 
hinder crown, and nape slaty-grey, blackish behind the eye. 
The grey soon changes to black. 

Young. — Blackish-brown above, the feathers with white mar- 
gins, broader on the scapulars and inner secondaries ; lesser 




wing-coverts pearly-grey, but the median and greater coverts 
blackish, edged with white at the ends-; bastard-wing and 
primary-coverts black; the primaries black along the outer 
web and down the inner side of the shaft, the rest of the inner 
web white for its whole extent, except at the tip, which is 
black, with a white spot at the end of the quill ; the inner 
primaries slaty-grey externally and along the inner edge of the 
shaft, the tip white with a sub-terminal black bar, the black 
lessening and the white extending till the secondaries are 
almost entirely white, excepting for a longitudinal patch of 
blackish towards the end of the outer web ; tail-feathers white, 
with a black band across the end of all but the outermost ; 
crown of head blackish, the forehead and eyebrows white ; the 
sides of the face white, with some streaks of black behind the 
eye ; entire under surface of body pure white, including the 
under wing-coverts, axillaries, and quill-lining. 

Young- in First Winter. — Resembles the winter plumage of the 
adult, but is easily distinguished by the black band at the end 
of the tail, and the broad black band across the wing, formed 
by the median and greater coverts. The white lining to the 
quills also distinguishes a young bird at once. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Little Gull sometimes visits us 
in large numbers, mostly in autumn and winter, but, as might 
be expected, the greater number of occurrences take place on 
our eastern and southern coasts, those on the western coasts 
and in Ireland being much fewer in number. 

Range Outside the British Islands. — In summer, Mr. Saunders 
says that the present species inhabits the lakes and marshy 
districts of sub-Arctic and temperate Europe, extending 
southwards in winter to the Mediterranean. Through 
temperate Asia it is found up to the mouth of the Amur 
River and the Sea of Okhotsk, but has not been noticed in 
Mongolia or China. It has once been obtained in Northern 
India, and has been known to wander to the Faeroe Islands, 
and even to New York State in North America. 

Habits. — The small size of the Little Gull distinguishes it at 
a glance from any of the other British species, and it is much 
more easily approached than most of the latter. It breeds in 


colonies, and even in winter is more or less gregarious. It 
feeds on small fishes, but also catches insects on the wing, 
according to Seebohm, after the manner of a Swallow or a 
Goatsucker. In winter the same observer states that it feeds 
principally on marine animals of various kinds, which it picks 
up on the shore or finds floating on the water. 

Nests. — Those found by the late Mr. Meves on Lake Ladoga 
were built of leaves, sedges, and grass, the lining being finer 
than the rest of the nest, which was placed on almost floating 
islets of tangled plants. Both male and female incubate. 

Eggs. — Three in number, but sometimes four. Ground- 
colour olive-brown to clay-brown, spotted with chocolate brown, 
inclining to blackish, the spots in several examples examined 
showing a tendency to form confluent blotches near the larger 
end, the underlying purplish-grey spots not being very promi- 
nent. The similarity of some of the eggs to those of the 
Common Tern is evident, and it is doubtful whether some of 
the eggs of Z. mimUus in the Seebohm collection are not really 
those of Ster72afluviatilis. 

The Little Gull was found by Russow nesting in Esthonia in 
company with the Common Tern, an unfortunate circumstance 
for egg-collectors, as Seebohm says, " for the eggs of the two 
species are absolutely indistinguishable." Meves distinguished 
them by the colour of the yolk, which was rich orange-red in 
the Gull, and ochre-yellow in the Tern. Apropos of this, how- 
ever, Seebohm states that he was informed by J. E. Palmer 
that he obtained eggs of the Herring Gull in Ireland, and that 
those eggs which had a dark ground-colour had deep-coloured 
yolks, whilst those with a pale ground-colour had pale yolks. 
Axis, I '5-1 -8 inches ; diam. i-i5-i-25. 


Lams ichthyaetus, Pall. Reise Russ. Reichs, ii. p. 713 (1773); 
Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 369, pi. 598 (1873); B. O. U. 
List Brit. B. p. 190 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. 
B. iii. p. 609(1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 653 (1889); 
Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxiv. (1893) ; Saunders, Cat. 
B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 176 (1896). 

E 2 


Allen's naturalist's library. 

Adult Male. — General colour above delicate pearly-grey, the 
wing-coverts like the back ; the greater series slightly edged 
with white at the ends ; primary-coverts grey with white shafts 
and broad white tips ; primaries white with a sub-terminal band 
of black of irregular shape, the first primary black along the 
outer web ; inner primaries and outer secondaries grey with 
white ends and outer webs ; remainder of secondaries pure 
white, except the innermost, which are grey, broadly tipped 
with white ; lower rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail pure white ; 
head all round black, with a spot of white above and below the 
eye ; hind neck, sides of neck, and entire under surface of body 
pure white, including the under wing-coverts and axillaries ; 
"bill orange, with a black band at the angle; tarsi and toes 
greenish-yellow, the webs orange " {H. Saunders). Total 
length, 29 inches: culmen, 2'7 ; wing, 19*5; tail, 7*65; 
tarsus, 3-35. 

Adult Female, — Similar to the male, but smaller ; " iris deep 
brown ; edge of eyelids bright red, with a conspicuous white 
patch on each lid ; bill wax-yellow, the gape and terminal third 
dull crimson, with a transverse sub-terminal black band ; feet 
dull Indian yellow, the claws black " {A, O. Hume). Total 
length, 23 inches; wing, 18-2. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Lacks the black head of the 
summer dress, the head being white, mottled more or less 
with blackish streaks and bases to the feathers. Mr. Saunders 
says that the black head is often assumed by the middle of 
February, and the moult of the primaries is then completed. 

Young. — Brown above, mottled with grey or darker brown, 
and with greyish-white edges to the feathers ; greater wing- 
coverts ashy-grey with dark brown centres, and white tips and 
edges to the inner webs ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts and 
quills black, ashy-whitish along the inner web ; secondaries 
blackish, with white shafts and with white along the edge of the 
inner webs, and greyish or white along the outer web ; lower 
rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail white, with a broad black 
band at the end occupying more than the terminal third of the 
feather ; the rump and upper tail-coverts spotted with brown : 


crown of head ashy-whitish, washed and mottled with brown ; 
behind the eye a dusky patch ; sides of face ashy brown ; under 
surface of body pure white, with a band of mottled brown spots 
across the fore-neck and on the sides of the upper breast ; under 
wing-coverts white, mottled with blackish along the edge of the 
wings ; primaries ashy-blackish below. 

Characters. — The large size of this Black-headed Gull renders 
it easily distinguishable from all the other hooded species, none 
of which have a wing exceeding fifteen inches. 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — This large species has once been 
obtained in England, an example in full summer plumage 
having been shot off Exmoulh at the end of May or beginning 
of June, 1859. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Great Black-headed 
Gull breeds in the districts of the Lower Volga and on the 
lakes of Central Asia, as far east as Koko-Nor, and it probably 
inhabits the whole of Thibet in summer. It visits the eastern 
Mediterranean region in winter, and is found along the Red 
Sea and in Egypt down to Nubia, while at the same season it 
visits the shores of the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean as 
far as Ceylon and Burma. 

Habits. — Scarcely anything has been recorded of the habits 
of the present species. Prjevalsky states that it is a very 
quarrelsome bird, and that its cry is harsh and like the croak 
of a raven. Its food consists of fish, Crustacea, reptiles, 
locusts, &c. 

Nest. — Apparently none, the eggs being laid upon the bare 

Eggs. — Three in number, and very large. The general 
colour is clay-brown or olive stone- colour, spotted with black 
or brown, with very distinct spots or blotches of inky-grey. In 
some eggs the spots are small, so that the egg looks like a 
gigantic edition of that of the Gull-billed Tern, but in others, 
particularly those with the olive-tinted ground-colour, there are 
some very large blotches of black, principally at the larger end. 
Axis, 2'95-3"3 inches; diam. 2*05-2 2. 

24 Allen's naturalist's library. 

in. THE mediterranean black-headed gull, larus 


Larus itielanocephahis, Natterer, Isis, 1818, p. 816 ; Dresser, 
B Eur. viii. p. 365, pi. 597, fig. 2 (1878); B. O. U. List 
Brit. B. p. 191 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. 111. 
p. 604, note (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 651 (1889); 
Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxi. (1895); Saunders, 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 180 (1896). 

Adult Male.— General colour above light pearly-grey, the wing- 
coverts like the back; bastard-wing pearly-grey, whitish towards 
the end of the feathers ; primary-coverts pearly-grey, as_ also 
the primaries, which are white at the ends and along the inner 
aspect of the inner web ; the first primary black from the base 
of the outer web for about two-thirds of its length ; secondaries 
white, the innermost pearly-grey like the back ; lower rump, 
upper tail-coverts, and tail pure white ; head all round jet- 
black, with a little patch of white above and below the eye ; 
hind-neck, sides of neck, and under surface of body from 
the lower throat downwards, pure white, including the under 
wing-coverts and axillaries ; bill rich coral-red, with more or 
less of a blackish band in front of the angle; tarsi and toes 
red ; a red ring round the eye ; iris dark brown. Total length, 
15-5 inches; culmen, 1*45; wing, 11*4; tail, 4-6 ; tarsus, 1-95. 

Adult Female — Similar to the male, but a trifle smaller, and 
with a less robust bill. Total length, 15 inches; wing, 11 -2. 

Adult in Winter.— Lacks the black head of the summer 
plumage, the crown being white, with streaks of ashy towards 
the nape ; a spot in front of the eye blackish ; ear-coverts 
ashy-grey ; bill and feet duller in colour. 

Young. — Brown above, like other young Gulls. Distinguished 
from the old birds by the colour of the quills ; the primary- 
coverts and quills blackish on both webs, the first primary with 
a small longitudinal mark of white near the end of the inner 
web ; the second and third with a good deal more white on 
the inner web, extending from the base to within an inch and 
a half of the tip ; the white increasing on the inner primaries 


and reaching the outer web, the innermost primaries very pale 
pearly-grey, with a black spot near the end of the outer web, 
which is developed into a large black patch on the secondaries: 
tail white, with a broad black band at the end; head white, with 
dusky streaks, more distinct on the ear-coverts; bill duller in col- 
our, with more black at the angle; tarsi and toes reddish-brown. 

Characters. — The adult of the present species may be easily 
recognised by its black head, pearl-grey mantle, wing less than 
12 inches, and by its coral-red bill, with a dark sub-terminal 
zone. (Cf. Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 170.) 

According to the characters given by Mr. Saunders for the 
distinguishing of the young bird, Z. mela7tocepJiahis has much 
more black on the three outer primaries than either Z. Phila- 
delphia or Z. ridibimdus, but the amount of white on these quills 
varies at different stages of the life of these birds, and imma- 
ture specimens require the greatest care to identify them 
correctly. In Z. melanocephaliis the young bird has black on 
both sides of the shaft of the second and third primary; in 
L. Philadelphia the shaft of the third primary has no black 
along its inner margin, and very little on the inner web of the 
first and second. In Z. ridibundus the young has no black 
on the inner line of the shaft in the second and third primaries 
and scarcely any on the first one, but the three outer primaries 
have a broad border of black along the margin of the inner 

Range in Great Britain. — Two examples of this Gull have been 
obtained in England. One, a young bird, was shot in Barking 
Creek on the Thames in January, t866, and was brought to 
Mr. Whitely of Woolwich, who mounted it himself, and after- 
wards parted with the specimen to the British Museum. A 
second individual was obtained on Breydon Broad, near 
Yarmouth, in December, 1886, by Mr. G. Smith. The latter 
bird, an adult in winter plumage, was seen in the flesh by 
several competent ornithologists, and both of the specimens 
have been examined by Mr. Saunders, and identified by him 
as being Lariis melanocephalus. 

Range outside the British Islands. — This species, as its name 
implies, is an inhabitant of the Mediterranean, whence it 
extends to the Black Sea, and has been said to breed in 

56 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Hungary. It has been known to occur off tlie mouth of the 
Somme in Northern France, and there is, therefore, nothing 
remarkable in the fact that it should occasionally turn up in 

Habits. — Scarcely any notes have been recorded respecting 
the habits of this Gull, which has been found in colonies in 
various parts of the Mediterranean, and apparently nests in 
many places within this area, though up to the present the 
eggs found by Mr. Dresser and other ornithologists in Spain 
have turned out to be those of the Gull-billed Tern, with the 
flocks of which L. melanocephalus often mingles. 

Nest. — As yet undescribed. 

Eggs. — Three in number, varying very much in colour, the 
ground tint of some being light clay-brown or buff, while 
others are very dark chocolate or olive-brown. The spots and 
blotches are darker brown, and the underlying markings are 
light purplish-grey. Axis, i'9-2T5 inches; diam. i*4-i'5. 

IV. Bonaparte's gull, larus philadelpiha. 

Sterna pJiiladclpJiia, Ord. in Guthrie's Geogr. 2nd Amer. ed. ii. 

p. 319(1815). 
Gavia bonapartii (Sw. & Rich.) Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 610 

Larus Philadelphia, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 192 (1SS3); 

Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 584 (1884) ; Seebohm, 

Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 307 (1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 

p. 645 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxix. (1894) ; 

Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 185 (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above pearly-grey, including the 
wing-coverts ; all the coverts round the bend of the wing, bastard- 
wing, and primary-coverts pure white ; first four primaries white, 
with black ends, the first one black along the outer web, the second 
slightly shaded with grey on the inner web, the third and fourth 
more distinctly grey on the latter, the rest of the primaries grey, 
with black near the tips, which show a small terminal grey spot, 
the black decreasing in extent towards the inner primaries ; 
secondaries grey, with narrow white edges to some of the inner 
ones ; lower rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail white ; head all 


round leaden-black, Avith a spot of white feathers above and 
below the eye ; hind neck, sides of neck, and under surface of 
body from the lower throat downwards, pure white, including 
the under ^ving-coverts and axillaries, the lower greater coverts 
tinged with silvery-grey like the quill-lining ; bill deep black ; 
tarsi and toes orange-red; iris dark brown. Total length, 12-5 
inches; culmen, .1-2; wing, 10-4; tail, 37; tarsus, 1-4. 

Adult Female,— Similar to the male. Total length_, 12-2 
inches ; wing, io*o. 

Adult in Winter Plumaje. — Lacks the black head of the sum- 
mer plumage, the crown being white, with some streaks of dusky- 
grey towards the nape ; behind the eye a spot of greyish-black ; 
tarsi and toes duller in colour. 

Young-. — Brown above, mottled with grey bases to the 
feathers ; the crown of the head ashy-brown ; the forehead and 
eyebrow white like the hind-neck ; sides of face white, with 
a tinge of buff, which is found on the sides of the neck, 
finishing on the chest ; a spot of black on the ear-coverts ; 
wing-coverts mostly blackish, with grey bases and fulvescent or 
whitish tips ; the secondaries with sub-terminal black markings 
of large size ; primary-coverts white, with broad longitudinal 
centres of black ; the primaries differing in markings from those 
of the adults, the first one being black along both sides of the 
shaft, the second having a little black along the- middle of the 
inside of the shaft ; on the third the black on the inside of the 
shaft is almost absent, but with a good deal of white on the base 
of the outer web ; tail white, with a broad sub-terminal band 
of black. 

Characters. — The chief characters for distinguishing Bona- 
parte's Gull in the fully adult plumage are its black bill and 
leaden-black hood. The differences in the young bird from 
those of the other British species have been detailed under the 
heading of the foregoing species. 

Range in Great Britain. — Some half-dozen examples of this 
North American species have been obtained within our limits. 
The first recorded was one killed near Belfast, in Ireland, in 

58 Allen's naturalist's library. 

February, 1848 ; another was shot on Loch Lomond by Sir G. 
H. Leith Buchanan, in April, 1850 ; while in England four 
examples have been chronicled, from Falmouth and Penryn in 
January, 1865, one from Penzance in October, 1890, and one 
from St. Leonard's in November, 1870. 

Range outside the British Islands. — Besides the above-mentioned 
occurrences of Bonaparte's Gull in Great Britain, the species 
has been recorded once from Heligoland, but this is the only 
instance of its capture on the Continent of Europe. It is a 
strictly North American species, breeding in the Fur countries, 
and migrating in winter on the east as far as Bermuda and 
Texas and to California on the west, passing south likewise by 
the inland lakes and rivers. 

Habits. — Sir John Richardson states that this pretty little 
Gull arrives at its breeding places on Great Bear Lake very 
early in the season, and before the snow has disappeared. He 
says : " The voice and mode of flying are like those of a Tern, 
and like those birds, it rushes fiercely at the head of anyone 
who intrudes on its haunts, screaming loudly. It has, moreover, 
the strange practice, considering the form of its feet, of 
perching on posts and trees, and it may often be seen standing 
gracefully on the summit of a small spruce fir." Audubon 
describes how Bonaparte's Gull follows the shoals of fishes, 
and Mr. E. W. Nelson found the species numerous in flocks on 
the 19th and 20th of September, along the tide channels near 
St. Michael's, in Alaska. They were hovering in parties with 
many Short-billed Gulls, close to the surface of the water, and 
feeding upon the schools of sticklebacks. 

Nest. — Built, according to Sir John Richardson, in a colony, 
resembling a rookery, seven or eight in a tree, the nests being 
formed of sticks laid flatly. 

Eggs. — Three in number, rarely four. Ground-colour olive- 
brown, or inclining to dark clay-brown, the spots somewhat 
reddish-brown, generally distributed over the egg, the under- 
lying spots being dusky-grey. Sometimes the large end of 
the egg is crowded with scribbling. Axis, i-75-2-i inches; 
diam., 1-3-1 -4. 




Lams ridibuiidus^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 225 (1766); Dresser, 
B. Eur. viii. p. 357, pis. 596 and 597, fig. i. (1878); 
B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 191 (1883); Saunders, ed. 
Yarrell's Brit, B. iii. p. 594 (1884); Seebohm. Hist. Brit. 
B. iii. p. 310 (1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 649 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxi. (1892); 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv, p. 207 (1896). 

Gavia ridibuiida^ Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 593 (1852). 

Gavia capistrafa, Macgill. t.c. p. 605. 

{Plate XCIX.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above delicate pearly-grey, 
including the wing-coverts ; the marginal coverts pure white, 
as also the bastard-wing and primary-coverts, the latter slightly 
shaded with pearly-grey on the inner feathers ; the three outer 
primaries white, with white shafts, black tips, and black edging 
to the inner webs ; the first primary black along the outer web, 
the second and third also, with a narrow line externally ; 
remainder of the primaries grey, with black tips and black 
margins to the inner webs, the black disappearing gradually on the 
inner primaries, which have a terminal spot of grey ; the fifth pri- 
mary white on the outer web, the secondaries entirely grey ; lower 
rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail white ; crown of head as far 
as the nape, sides of the face, and throat chocolate-brown, 
darkening towards the edges of the hood, which is very well 
defined ; a ring of white above and behind the eye ; hind-neck 
from the nape and sides of neck white, slightly overspreading 
the mantle ; entire under surface of body from the lower throat 
downward white, with a slight rosy tinge, including the 
axillaries and marginal lower wing-coverts; the lower, median, 
greater, and primary-coverts grey ; " bill, tarsi, and toes lake- 
red ; iris hazel" {H. Saunders). Total length, i6"5 inches; 
culmen, i*45j wing, 11*9; tail, 475; tarsus, 17. 

Adult Female. — Slightly smaller than the male, as a rule. Total 
length, 14-5 inches; wing, 11 '8. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage in 
lacking the brown head, the crown being white with a Uttle 

6o Allen's naturalist's library. 

dusky-grey shade on the hinder part ; a small dusky spot in 
front of the eye and another greyish spot behind the ear-coverts. 
The white under parts have generally a distinct rosy-blush, 
which is also seen on the white of the primaries. 

Young. — -Brown above, with sandy-brown • edges to most of 
the feathers, which are grey at the base ; the rump and upper 
tail-coverts white, with sandy-coloured edgings; tail also white, 
with a band of black at the end of all but the outermost 
feathers ; lesser wing-coverts white or tinged with grey ; median 
wing-coverts brown, like the inner secondaries, edged with 
sandy buff; greater coverts pearly-grey; primaries as in the 
adult, with tiny whity-brown tips, but with much more black on 
both webs, the black approaching the shaft ; secondaries grey, 
broadly tipped with white, and with a longitudinal black mark 
towards the end of the outer web, decreasing in extent on the 
inner secondaries ; head uniform brown, the hind-neck white, 
flecked with brown like the sides of the face ; forehead and 
eyebrows whitish ; feathers in front of the eye, and a large patch 
on the ear-coverts, dusky-blackish ; throat and under surface of 
body white ; fore-neck, chest, and sides of body washed with 
sandy-brown; "bill dull yellow, passing into black at the angle; 
tarsi and toes reddish-yellow" (Saunders.) 

Regarding the changes of this bird, Mr. Saunders says : 
*' More or less of a brown hood is assumed when the bird is 
barely a year old, and the band on the tail is lost by the 
following autumn, when the new primaries appear, with — as 
has been said — a larger proportion of black than in the adult. 
In fact, the duration of the immature phase is very short. The 
bird does not breed until the following (or second) spring. 
Occasionally the black from the margins of the inner webs of 
the three outer quills runs in and reaches the shafts, much 
encroaching upon the usual white centres, though not to the 
same extent on both wings of the same bird." 

Characters. — The dark brown hood of this species easily 
distinguishes it when adult, and young birds can be told by the 
broad black edging which compasses the inner web of the first 
three primary quills. 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — This well-known species nests in 
colonies in various places throughout the three kingdoms, and 


is found nesting in large numbers in Scotland, as far noith as 
the Shetland Islands, In Ireland, Mr. Ussher says, it has 
breeding colonies, large and small, on bogs and on small 
islands in lakes, sometimes of tens of thousands, as on Killeen- 
more Bog near Tullamere, sometimes of but a few pairs. It 
is reported to breed in Donegal, Antrim, Down, Armagh, 
Monaghan, Fermanagh, Cavan, Westmeath, King's County, 
Queen's County, Tipperary, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, 
Roscommon, Mayo, and Leitrim. A few breed on Beginish, 
a small flat island in the Blasquet group, an unusual instance of 
a marine breeding-place. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is 
found, according to Mr. Saunders, throughout Europe from 
the Faeroes, Southern Norway and Sweden, Russia, from 
Archangel down to the Mediterranean, and across tempe- 
rate Asia to Kamtchatka, where it also breeds. In winter 
it visits Senegambia, Nubia, and the Red Sea, the Persian 
Gulf and the Indian Ocean, China, Japan, and the Philip- 

Habits. — The name '^ I)/ac/c-hea.ded Gull" is a decided 
misnomer for this species, for the hood is br'ozv7i rather than 
black, and it is the more inappropriate as there are some Gulls 
of this group which have absolutely black caps. It is a 
gregarious species, nesting in colonies, and even in the autumn 
and winter congregating in flocks, which frequent tidal harbours 
and are often a conspicuous feature at pier-heads when the tide 
comes in. I have often seen them circling within a few feet of 
the heads of the visitors at Gorleston Harbour, on the east 
coast, and one of the most interesting features of the day was 
to go and throw food to these pretty creatures at the end of 
the pier. They are almost equally tame on the Thames when 
they ascend the river in winter. 

Many accounts have been published of visits paid by 
naturalists to " gulleries " of this species, one of the most 
renowned being at Scoulton in Norfolk, of which the late Mr. 
G. Dawson Rowley has given the following account : — 

" The first intimation of the proximity of the Gulls was a 
flight of them feeding in a cornfield near Scoulton Church, 

62 ai.len's naturalist's library. 

which, like some others, has a reed-thatched roof — an indication 
of a fenny neighbourhood. 

" The sight of the birds of Scoulton, as they rise in a dense 
mass, filling the air like snow, is certainly very beautiful ; and 
the sound of the multitude of voices is music to the ornitho- 
logical ear. 

" The Gulls chiefly congregate at each end of ' the heath,' as 
the great island is called, on which Scotch firs and birches grow. 
If an unfortunate Heron appears, they mob him, and keep even 
the swans at a respectful distance, with blows on the head. 
After the Gulls leave, however, the Herons frequently take 
possession of the mere. 

" Mr. Weyland has constructed a path, called the ' twenty- 
foot road,' all round, which makes a dry and agreeable 
promenade, whence the visitor may view the islets of the 
broad water, which are named Tea Island, Boat-house Island, 
&:c., «&c. 

" Many years ago the greater portion of Scoulton parish was 
common land, and the mere is part of the allotment to the 
Weyland family. Long may it flourish and protect these 
Gulls, who probably are the oldest inhabitants, as they are 
mentioned by Sir Thomas Browne as breeding there in his 
time ; and they may be coeval with the lake itself. The birds 
arrive some time in February. 

" The keeper states that he took 6,000 eggs last season, and 
these eggs fetch one shilHng per dozen. But in the time of 
the Rev. Richard Lubbock — as mentioned in the ' Fauna of 
Norfolk,' in my edition (1845) — it is said (p. 123) that an 
average season produces more than 30,000 eggs ; five years 
before that they took 44,000. 

" Mr. J. H. Gurney, jun., writes, in 'Rambles of a Naturalist ' 
(p. 292): — 'In i860, about i6,oco eggs had been gathered. 
In 1872, when I went again, only 4,000 were taken. This sad 
falling off was due to dry seasons. Brown, the keeper, told me 
that once the farmers spread the fields in the neighbourhood 
with manure sown with salt, which poisoned the worms, &c., 
upon which the Gulls feed, and that a great number died in 
consequence. lie said also that they suffered from Stoats and 
Rats; he had known, on one occasion, 150 of the nestlings 
and eggs, just chipping, to be destroyed by a Stoat.' " 


This Gull is often found inland at some distance from 
water, visiting swamps or even following the plough. 

Nest. — Generally placed on the ground, though instances 
have been known of its being built on a tree, even at seven or 
eight feet from the ground, or on a boat-house. Seebohm 
states that he has found nests floating on the water, sometimes 
slight, at other times quite substantial structures, as big as 
Coots' nests. " On the Lower Danube," he writes, " the nests 
were also floating on weeds of various kinds, and were of good 
size. Although the colony was not a large one, the birds were 
demonstrative enough, crying loudly, sometimes a single Kak, 
at others Kak, Kak, frequently Kark, and occasionally Kak, 

Eg-gs. — Two to three in number, varying greatly in colour, 
occasionally in the same clutch. Mr. Robert Read writes to 
me : — " In the vast colonies in which these birds breed, one 
may find eggs of every size, shape, and colour, from pale 
spotless greenish-blue to deep brown, heavily marked with 
black blotches and spots. I have frequently found four, five, 
and six eggs in a nest, and on one occasion eight, but in most 
of these cases the produce is undoubtedly that of more than 
two or more females." The most typical form of egg has the 
ground-colour dark olive or dark clay-brown, the spots being of 
all shapes and sizes, often forming confluent blotches of black 
or brown at the large end of the egg. Many of the overlying 
spots have a reddish tint, and the underlying markings being 
dusky-grey. Some varieties are bluish in ground-colour, 
others nearly white with minute spots, while in a few examples 
the ground-colour is a deep coffee-brown, on which the markings 
are scarcely perceptible. Axis, 2"o-2*3 inches; diam., 1-4- 


Lams marimts^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 225 (1766); Macgill. 
Brit. B. V. p. 526 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 427, 
pi. 604 (1872): B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 189 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 631 (1884) ; Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 323 (1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 

64 alt.en's naturalist's library. 

p. 66i (1889) : Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxv. (1893); 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 241 (1896). 

{Plate C.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above black, with a distinct 
wash of slate-colour, the scapulars tipped with white ; marginal 
coverts white ; wing-coverts like the back ; bastard-wing, 
primary-coverts, and quills slaty- black, the secondaries broadly 
tipped with white, forming a distinct bar across the wing ; 
first primary with a white tip of nearly three inches in extent ; 
second primary also largely tipped with white, with a sub- 
terminal spot of black on the inner web ; third primary almost 
entirely black, with a white tip ; fourth and fifth primaries with 
a broad sub-terminal bar of black, preceded by a narrow bar 
of white on the inner web ; rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail 
pure white ; head and neck all round, as well as the upper 
mantle and the entire under surface of the body, including 
the under wing-coverts and axillaries, pure white ; lower 
primary-coverts ashy ; quill-lining dark slate-colour, with an 
ashy shade along the edge of the inner web, and a kind of 
light ashy shade or pale appearance along the inner line of the 
shaft; "bill yellow, the angle of the genys orange-red; eyelid 
vermilion ; tarsi and toes livid flesh-colour " (H. Saunders). 
Total length, 28 inches; culmen, 2*6; wing, i9'5 ; tail, 7*5; 
tarsus, 3"o. 

Adult Female. — Rather smaller than the male, and with a less 
robust bill. 

Adult in Winter. — Similar to the summer plumage, but with a 
few greyish streaks on the head, and the colour of the bill not 
so bright. 

Young. — Brown above, thickly mottled with bars of white or 
sandy buff or light brown, with occasionally a bar of black on the 
feathers, most of which are broadly edged with sandy or white, 
with sub-terminal bars or markings of black ; rump, upper tail- 
coverts, and tail mottled with black, the latter marbled with 
black, in addition to the sub-terminal black bar ; primary- 
coverts and primaries black, tipped with white, the inner webs 
of the feathers slaty-brown ; secondaries brown, blacker on the 
outer web, edged and tipped with white; innermost secondaries 



mottled and barred like the back ; head and hind-neck white, 
streaked with brown, more thickly on the hinder crown and 
nape, and very thinly on the lores, sides of face, and lower 
throat ; chin and upper throat white, unspotted ; remainder of 
under surface of body white, slightly spotted with dusky brown, 
but more distinctly on the sides of the breast and flanks, where 
the dusky bars and arrow-head markings are very distinct; 
under wing-coverls and axillaries white, with dusky bars. 

Concerning :he changes in plumage of this species when 
immature, Mr. Howard Saunders writes: — "Restricting the 
term ' young ' to a bird of two years, at a later stage black 
feathers appear on the mantle, and the white edges to the 
secondaries are distinct, but the primaries are still without 
' mirrors.' Afterwards the primaries have white tips, and the 
fourth, fifth, and sixth exhibit what may almost be called sub- 
terminal bars, while the outermost quill shows a sub-apical 
'mirror' of dull white, and the second quill has an ill-defined 
brownish-white spot, the tail being still slightly mottled. I do 
not think that the adult plumage is attained before the bird 
is in its fifth year, and even then the amount of white on the 
two or three outer primaries continues to increase with age." 

Nestlings. — Ashy-grey above, mottled with blackish-brown 
spots, blacker and more scattered on the head and hind-neck ; 
under parts white, the breast tinged with orange- buff. 

Characters. — The large size (wing over 19 inches), slaty- 
black back, and white head distinguish this species when adult, 
as well as the large white tip to the first primary. The size is 
the best guide for the determination of the young birds, added 
to the powerful bill, which far exceeds that of the Lesser Black- 
backed or Herring Gulls. 

Range in Great Britain. — The present species breeds more 
abundantly in Scotland than in England, where only a few 
isolated nesting-places are known on the south-western and 
western coasts. Mr. Ussher says that in Ireland one or more 
pairs breed on the summits of some stacks and islands off 
Donegal, Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Galway, 
and Mayo, but there is a considerable colony on the Cow Rock, 
off Dursey Head, Cork, and another colony of at least fifty 
pairs on the Bills Rocks, off Achill, Mayo. 

66 ALLEN'S naturalist's Lir.RAKY. 

Range outside the British Islands. — Northern Europe, from the 
Lower Petchora westward to Iceland, and down to about 
50" N. (breeding) ; in winter to the Canaries, and along the 
Mediterranean (rarely) to the Egyptian coast ; also on inland 
waters. Greenland, and also the east coast and the Great 
Lakes of North America to Labrador (breeding) ; in winter to 
Florida, and accidentally in Bermuda {H. Sminders). 

Eabits. — This is one of the largest and most powerful of all 
the British Gulls, and is a great robber, for besides its ordinary 
food of fish, it devours eggs and young birds, and will attack 
any sickly or wounded bird or even a sheep. It may, indeed, 
be said to be practically omnivorous, and will even eat carrion. 
It is less gregarious than the other Gulls, and is seldom seen 
even in small companies, while in winter it is generally solitary. 
It is a very wary bird, and I have only managed to capture 
individuals by baiting a long line at night-time and leaving 
it on the mud-flats. In this way I caught several at Pagham 
Harbour years ago, both old and young birds. "The notes," says 
Seebohm, " are loud and harsh ; almost as harsh and almost as 
unmusical as those of the Raven. Its alarm note might be repre- 
sented by the syllable Kyaoiik, and its call-notes as ag ag-ag. In 
winter these birds often congregate where fishing is going on." 

Nest. — Placed on rocks, or on an islet at some distance from 
the sea. The nest is a carelessly-made structure, a depression 
in the ground being lined with grass or sea-weed, with an 
occasional twig or two. 

Eggs. — Two or three in number, of large size. Ground- 
colour clay-brown, inclining to stone-colour, with scattered 
spots of dark reddish-brown or black, with underlying grey 
spots and blotches. The dark overlying spots have not much 
tendency to coalesce, and are, in some instances, very scattered 
and of a pale ochre-brown colour. A pair in the Seebohm 
collection in the British Museum are bluish-white, with hardly 
a spot on them ; they were obtained in South-west Sweden. 
Axis, 2"75-3"i5 inches ; diam., 2*i-2*2. 


Larus fiisciis, Linn Syst. Nat. i. p. 225 (1766); Macgill. Brit. 
^- V. p. 538 (1852) ; Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 421, pi. 603 



(1873); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 189 (1883); Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 624 (1884); Seebohm, Hist. 
Brit. B. iii. p. 319 (1885) ; Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 659 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxiii. (1893); 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 250 (1896). 

{Plate CI.) 

Adult Male. — Similar to L. marinus, but very much smaller, 
and easily distinguished by the outer primaries, which have 
not the ends white for nearly three inches, but are blackish 
with a white sub -terminal bar before a black tip. General 
colour above slate-grey, with the same white ends to the 
secondaries and scapulars ; the head, neck, mantle, and under 
surface of body white, as also the rump, upper tail-coverts, 
and tail ; " bill yellow, the angle of the genys red ; tarsi and 
feet lemon-yellow ; iris pale straw-yellow '' [Saunders). Total 
length, 19*5 inches; culmen, 2'i5; wing, 16*4; tail, S'^S \ 
tarsus, 2 '6. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but smaller, and with a 
less robust bill. Total length, i9'o inches ; wing, 16*4. 

Adult in Winter. — Differs from the summer plumage in having 
the head and neck streaked with dusky-brown. 

Young. — Brown above, with broad white margins, the head 
brown, streaked with white; sides of face ashy brown, darker on 
the ear-coverts, narrowly streaked with dusky ; throat white ; 
remainder of the under surface of body streaked and mottled 
with ashy-brown, which is the prevailing colour of the under 
parts, the sides of the body barred with darker brown ; the 
tail-feathers black for the terminal half, white barred with 
black on the basal half, the black end decreasing towards the 
outer feathers. The bill is slaty-grey, the feet flesh-coloured, 
and the iris brown. It takes four years for the fully adult 
plumage to be gained. 

Nestling. — Greyish-buff, streaked and mottled with black on 
the upper parts and throat. 

Characters. — In examining the series of adult Lesser Black- 
backed Gulls in the British Museum, one is struck by the 
great variation in the colour of the back, from slaty-grey to 

F 2 

6S Allen's naturalist's library. 

black. On this question Mr. Saunders writes: — "The principal 
characteristics of Z. fiiscus are the comparatively long tarsus 
and the small delicate foot. The colours of the mantle and 
wings are so variable in shade that the palest examples might 
be mistaken for Lariis offijiis, but for the large size and coarser 
foot of the latter. The blackest examples of L. fuscns are 
found indifferently in the Faeroes, Norway, Egypt, and on the 
Red Sea ; the lightest are, perhaps, from Scotland, and between 
the extremes there is every gradation." The smaller size dis- 
tinguishes the present species from the Greater Black-backed 
or Herring-Gulls, and, when adult, the colour of the legs further 
serves to separate it from the former species. 

Range in Great Britain. — ^The present species is a resident 
throughout our islands, but is somewhat local in its breeding- 
haunts^ though, where this Gull nests, it is generally in 
such numbers that it requires to be kept in check. Mr. 
Saunders observes : — " In Scotland closely- packed settlements 
may be found — far too plentifully for game preservers — up to 
the northernmost Shetlands ; especially along the western 
coast, within the shelter of the outer Hebrides, though on the 
far side of that group, the Herring-Gull predominates." As 
regards Ireland, Mr. Ussher's note is -as follows : — " Breeds, 
often in large, numerous colonies, on the sea-cliffs and marine 
islands of Donegal, Londonderry, Antrim, Dublin, Wexford, 
Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo. It 
is the species of Gull most abundantly distributed on our 
coasts in the breeding-season." 

Range outside the British Islands. — " Northern Europe, from the 
Dwina westward to the Faeroes (but not in Iceland), and 
southward to the Mediterranean (breeding) ; in winter to tlie 
Canaries, Senegal, Fantee, Bonny, Egypt, Nubia, the Red Sea 
(said to be resident on the last), to Fao on the Persian Gulf. 
Very rare in the North Caspian, and practically not found east 
of the line of the Dwina, where the range of Lams affinis 
begins" (Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 253). Occasion- 
ally it ranges farther eastward than the above-mentioned limits, 
as, since the above was written, Mr. Saunders has identified a 
specimen procured by Mr. H. L. Popliam on the Ycnesei as 
L. fuscns (Ibis, iSq7, p. 106). 


Habits. — Both in the breeding season and during the autumn 
and winter the present species is gregarious, and. even in the 
height of summer, small flocks of the Lesser Black-backed Gull 
may be observed on the flat and open shores of our south- 
eastern coasts — evidently non-breeding birds. It is decidedly 
the Gull most in evidence on our coasts, excepting the Black- 
headed Gull, and is easily procured by any gunner who lies up 
for it as it flies inland to the ploughed fields or fallow. Like 
other Gulls, its principal food consist of fish, but it will often 
be found following the plough, and is frequently to be observed 
among the shipping on tidal rivers. '^ It is a wonderful sight," 
says Seebohm, "on approaching one of the Fame Islands, to 
see the green mass sprinkled all over wath large white-looking 
birds, every one standing head to wind, like innumerable 
weathercocks ; and it is still more wonderful, when a shot is 
flred, to see the flutter of white wings as every bird rises in 
haste, and to hear the angry cries which each bird makes as 
soon as the exertion of getting fairly launched into the air is 
over, and it finds breath enough to scream defiance to the 
invader of its home. In half a minute thousands of birds are 
flying backwards and forwards in every direction, like a living 
snow-storm. The various cries of the birds almost exactly 
resemble those of the Herring-Gull, The angry Kyeok (which 
sounds at a distance when the birds are quarrelling, like ak^ 
ak, ak), and the good-natured ha, Jia^ /la, or <?;/, an, an, are 
constantly heard." 

Nest. — A slovenly structure of dry grass and dead marine 
plants and sea-weed. 

E^g-s. — Three in number, occasionally four. A curious 
instance of a nest with four eggs is to be seen in the Natural 
History Museum. This nest was placed in the middle of a 
sheep-track, and the sheep, in passing to and fro, had to jump 
over the back of the sitting bird. 

Mr. Robert Read writes to me: — "Three is the usual number 
of eggs in one set, but I have taken four from a nest. In this 
instance they w^ere very heavily marked and evidently laid by 
the same bird. The case in the Natural History Museum is 
another instance of four eggs being found in a nest, although, 
to judge from the eggs alone, one could not be certain that 


they were all laid by the same bird." Although some of the 
eggs of L. fusais look like small rei^rodiictions of eggs of 
L. inarinus^ the general tone of the colour in the Lesser Black- 
backed Gull is decidedly darker, and varies from clay-brown 
or olive-brown to dark chocolate. The black overlying spots 
run somewhat into blotches, which are often congregated at 
the larger end of the ^gg. Axis, 2 '6-2 -85 inches; diam., 
1-8-1 -95. 


Lanis argentatiis, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 600 (1788, ex Briinn.); 
Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 544 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. viii. 
p. 339, pi. 602, fig. 2 (1873) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 188 
(1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit, B. iii. p. 613 (1884); 
Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 316 (1885); vSaunders, Man. 
Brit. B. p. 655 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxiii. 
(1893); Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 260 (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above delicate pearly-grey ; wang- 
coverts like the back, the secondariesbroadly tipped with white, 
like the scapulars, forming a conspicuous bar across the wing ; 
bastard-wing pearly-grey, the outer feathers white ; primary- 
coverts and primaries darker grey ; first primary blackish, with 
a grey wedge towards the base of the inner web, the tips white, 
preceded by a narrow black bar (often absent), which is again 
preceded by a broad band of white ; the second primary 
with a spot of white at a little distance from the end of 
the inner web, both these quills grey at the basal portion of 
the inner web, this grey gradually increasing in extent until the 
black becomes but a band near the end of the inner primaries, 
and finally disappears on the innermost ones; upper tail-coverts 
and tail pure white, as well as the head and neck all round 
and the entire under surface of the body. Total length, 22-5 
inches; culmen, 2*2; wings, i6'5 ; tail, 6"6 ; tarsus, 2*5. 

The white markings on the first two primaries vary consider- 
ably. Sometimes the black sub-terminal black band is entirely 
absent, and the whole tip is white for more than two inches, in 
other individuals the white spot near the end of the inner web 
of the second primary is totally absent. 


Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but smaller. Total length, 
20-5 inches; wing, 157. Mr. Saunders says that, irrespective 
of sex, there is " great individual variation." 

Adult in Winter. — Similar to the summer plumage, but with 
brownish-grey streaks on the head and neck. 

Young. — On the changes of plumage undergone by the young 
bird, it is better to quote from Mr. Saunders, as the succession 
of plumages appears to be somewhat intricate. According to 
him (Cat. B. xxv. p. 264), in the first autumn, the upper parts 
are streaked and mottled with brown and greyish-buff ; quills 
dark umber, with paler inner webs and whitish tips to most ; 
rectrices similar, but more or less mottled with whitish at the 
bases of the two or three outer pairs ; upper tail-coverts brown, 
with bufifish-white tips ; under parts nearly uniform brown at 
first, but afterwards brownish grey, mottled ; bill blackish, paler 
at the base of the lower mandible. 

In the second autumn the head is nearly white, streaked with 
greyish-brown ; the upper parts are barred with brown on a 
greyish ground, though no pure grey feathers have yet made 
their appearance on the mantle ; quills paler ; tail more mottled 
with white at the bases of all the feathers. 

In the third autumn the feathers of the mantle are chiefly grey, 
with some brownish streaks down the shafts ; a faint sub-apical 
spot begins to show on the outermost primary ; the tail-coverts 
are partly white, and the dark portion of the rectrices is much 
broken up ; under parts nearly white. 

In the fourth autumn the sub-apical patch on the first 
primary is larger, and the quills from the fifth upwards are 
banded with black and tipped with white ; tail-feathers white, 
slightly vermiculated with brown ; bill greenish-yellow basally, 
reddish-black at the angle. 

At the moult of the fifih autumn all brown markings are lost, 
the primaries have white tips, black bars and grey wedges, 
though the proportion of dark colouring in the quills is greater 
than it is in older birds. 

Characters. — Though the male Herring-Gull is sometimes 
nearly as big as a female Great Black-backed Gull, it is easily 
told by its much less massive bill and by the pearl-grey back. 
This distinguishes the old birds, and although there is some 


resemblance to each otlier in the young of the Greater and 
Lesser Black-backed Gulls and that of the Herring-Gull, the 
dimensions will generally serve to distinguish the species at all 

Range in Great Britain. — The Herring-Gull breeds in all parts 
of Great Britain where suitable places for its nesting are 
available. It is almost entirely a coast species and seldom 
nests on inbnd waters or lochs. It is the most noticeable 
of all our indigenous species of Gull, and Mr. R. J. Ussher 
also says that it is the most widely distributed of any Gull on 
the coasts of Ireland during the breeding season. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species breeds 
in Northern Europe down to the coasts of Northern France, 
and to the westward of the White Sea. It is also found in 
North America, breeding as far south as lat. 40° N. on the 
Atlantic side, and on the west it is known from the Yukon 
River to California. In winter it extends to the West Indies 
and the Mexican coasts, while European individuals visit the 
Mediterranean in winter, as well the I31ack and Caspian Seas. 

Habits. — The Herring-Gull is principally a shore-feeder, and 
its name is derived from its supposed habit of following the 
shoals of small herring-fry, while k is often seen in some 
numbers round the fishing-boats, where the birds pounce down 
on any scraps or offal which may be thrown overboard. Like 
other Gulls this species sometimes comes inland and feeds on 
worms, grubs, and grain. It is a great robber of eggs, " and 
when," writes Mr. Saunders, " at some noted and accessible 
breeding-place of sea-birds, such as Lundy Island, a gun is 
fired by a tourist-party for the childish pleasure of seeing an 
immense number of birds on the wing, then is the opportunity 
of the Herring-Gulls, and every unprotected egg of Guillemot or 
Gannet is swept from the ledges in an instant ! " 

Seebohm states that the caU-note of this Gull resembles 
the syllables /id-M-Zia, or more exactly, han-hdn-han ; the 
alarm-note. resembles the syllables Ky-eok, pronounced in a 
guttural manner; and when the bird is unusually excited, its 
note is rapidly repeated and sounds like Kak-dk-dk ! 

Nest. — Mr. Robert Read says that he has generally found the 
Herring- Gull nesting among larger colonies of the Lesser Black- 


backed Gull on the Fame Islands, Ailsa Craig, &c., and such 
appears to have been the experience of Mr. Saunders and other 
naturalists. The nest is often slight, but is occasionally a 
bulky structure of grass and seaweeds, with a lining of finer 
grass and a few straws or stalks of the sea-campion. It is 
placed on a slope of a cliff or on the grass near the edge of 
the latter, sometimes in a hollow of the ground in the low- 
lands or in the crevice of a rock. In America it is known to 
build in trees or bushes. 

Eggs. — Two or three in number, generally the latter, and very 
similar to those of the Lesser Black-backed and Common 
Gulls. There is, however, a greater variation in the eggs of 
the Herring-Gull than in those of the two last-named species, 
and a very beautiful reddish variety is found near Vardo in the 
north of Norway, which Seebohm believed to be the egg of the 
Glaucous Gull. On this point, however, Mr. Henry Pearson 
and Mr. Edward Bidwell have made some remarks in the 
"Ibis" for 1894 (p. 236). They procured some of these red 
eggs tliemselves in Northern Norway, in a district where there 
were no ulaucous Gulls. They write : — "The natives ascribe 
them to ihe Herring-Gull and say that, however large the 
colony may be, the red eggs are never found in more than one 
nest in the colony." 

The ground-colour varies in the same way as in tlie eggs of 
the Lesser Black-backed Gull, but the Herring-Gull rarely seems 
to lay eggs of the dark chocolate type. As, however, this is 
sometimes the case, it may be said that the eggs of the two 
species are so similar that there is no character by which they 
can be distinguished, and that too much care cannot be taken in 
their identification. Axis, 2-6-3"05 inches; diam., i*85-2i. 


Lams canus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 224 (1766); Macgill. Brit. 
B- V. p. 575 (1852) ; Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 381, pi. 600 
(1873); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 189 (1883)': Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 613 (1884); Seebohm, Hist, 
Brit. B. iii. p. 316 (1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 655 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xx. (1891); 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 277 (1896). 

74 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Adult Male. — General colour above delicate pearl-grey ; the 
wing-coverts like the back ; the secondaries and scapulars 
plainly tipped with white, forming a bar across the wing ; 
bastard-wing and primary-coverts pearly-grey, the outer ones 
white ; primaries blackish, with a small white tip and a broad 
sub-terminal bar of white on the two outermost ; the first 
primary with a grey base to the inner web, much more extended 
at the base of both webs in the second primary, and gradually 
extending on the other quills till they are almost entirely grey, 
with a black sub-terminal bar before the black tip ; the inner 
primaries and all the secondaries grey with a white tip ; rump, 
upper tail-coverts, and tail pure white ; head and neck all 
round, as well as the under surface of the body, pure white, 
including the under wing-coverts and axillaries ; quill-lining 
dusky-grey, lighter grey towards the base, and with the same 
pattern of white sub-terminal bars as the upper surface ; " bill 
greenish-yellow at the base, rich yellow terminally ; tarsi and 
toes greenish-yellow ; iris golden-brown ; orbital ring ver- 
milion " {Saunders). Total length, i8 inches ; culmen, 1*5; 
wing, i3"6; tail, 5*4; tarsus, 2*1. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but smaller. Total 
length, 17*0 inches; wing, 12 "8. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Similar to the summer plumage, 
but with the head and neck streaked with ashy-brown, and 
with the tarsi and toes olivaceous. 

Young. — Brown above, with white or buff bars and margins 
to the feathers ; under surface of body white, mottled with 
brown or ashy-brown. The young bird thus resembles the 
immature Herring-Gull, and is of the same pale colour. It 
is, however, easily recognisable from the young of the latter 
species, as well as from that of the Lesser Black-backed Gull, 
by its smaller size. The young birds go through similar 
changes of plumage to those of the allied species of Gull, and 
^Nlr. Saunders says that the bird only gains its fully adult livery, 
and breeds, when nearly three years old. 

Characters. — In its light pearly-grey mantle and back, the 
Common Gull resembles the Herring-Gull, but can always be 
told by its smaller size, the wing never exceeding 16 inches in 


length. By this means also the young birds of the two species 
can be distinguished. 

Range in Great Britain, — This species breeds in Scotland, but 
Mr. Saunders states that he is not aware of any nesting-place 
in England, or, indeed, south of the Border. In Scotland, 
however, it breeds not only on the coasts, where such are 
favourable, but on inland lochs as far north as the Hebrides, 
the Orkneys, and Shetland Isles. In Ireland, Mr. Ussher 
says, it breeds in small colonies, and in separate pairs, on 
islands in lakes (usually near the coast) of Donegal, Mayo, 
and Galway, but sometimes at a distance from the sea, as in 
Lough Mask and Lake Dahybawn in Mayo, an island on the 
latter containing a colony of some fifty nests. There are some 
marine breeding-places, as on islands in Blacksod Bay, and a 
few pairs breed on one of the Blasquet Islands, off Kerry. 

Range outside the British Islands. — According to Mr. Saunders, 
the Common Gull is found in Europe and Northern Asia down 
to about ^^° N. Lat, where it breeds. In winter it is found 
in the Mediterranean Basin, the Nile Valley, and the Persian 
Gulf. It also extends from Kamschatka to Japan and China. 
It is a rare bird in Iceland, and only one instance of its capture 
in North America has been authenticated, a young bird having 
once been obtained in Labrador. 

Habits. — These resemble those of the other British Gulls 
described above. It is more or less gregarious, but in the 
autumn many single birds are to be observed on our coasts 
and estuaries. Its food consists of fish, but it will also come 
inland and follow the plough for the sake of worms and grubs, 
while, like other Gulls, it will also eat young birds. In some 
parts of its range it adopts the deserted nest of a Hooded 
Crow, or other bird, in a high tree, on the summit or the 
branches of which it will be seen to perch. 

Nest. — A rough structure of grass or seaweed in the open, 
but sometimes it will be placed on the ledge of a cliff, or on 
the top of a rock, or even, as remarked above, on a tree. Mr. 
Pvobert Read writes to me : — " I have always found the nests 
of the Common Gull on the shores of fresh-water lakes, or on 
the islands in one of these waters. The birds are particularly 
fond of nesting on isolated rocks, sometimes on a boulder, 

76 ■ Allen's naturalist's library 

only a foot of which is projecting above water. In Sweden, 
on a group of large rocky islets in a fresh-water lake, I never 
found more than one nest on each islet." 

Eggs. — Three in number. Ground-tint of a clay- or olive- 
brown to chocolate, with reddish-brown or black spots and streaks 
distributed fairly over the whole egg, and seldom forming 
blotches. Sometimes the dark spots show up faintly, and the 
grey underlying ones are almost as distinctly indicated. Axis, 
2'i 5-2*45 inches; diam., 1-6-17. 


Larus hyperhoreus, Gunnerus, in Leem's Beskr. Finn. Lapp. 

p. 283 (1767). 
Larus glaucus^ Fabr. ; Macgill. Brit. B. v. \). 557 (1852); 

Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 433, pi. 605 (1877); B. O. U. 

List Brit. B, p. 187 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. 

iii. p. 636 (1884) ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 330 

(1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 663 (1889); Lilford, 

Col. Fig. Brit. B. parts xxiii. xxvii. (1893-94) ; Saunders, 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 289 (1896). 
[Plate CI I.) 
Adult Male. — General colour above very pale pearly-grey, the 
wing-coverts like the back ; the marginal-coverts round the 
bend of the wing white ; bastard-wing and primar3'-coverts 
grey; primaries pearly-grey^ with white shafts, gradually 
becoming white at the ends; the secondaries and scapulars 
broadly tipped with white; the rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail 
white ; head and neck all round, as well as the whole of the 
under surface of the body, pure white; "bill yellow, orange-red 
at the angle ; tarsi and toes light fleshy pink in life ; iris, 
yellow; orbital ring, orange" {H. Saunders) Total length, 
25 inches; culmen, 2*75 ; wing, i8*o; tail, 6*7; tarsus, 2'8. 

Adult Female. — Smaller, often considerably so, according to 
]\Ir. Saunders, who says there is also considerable difference in 
the size of individuals, irrespective of sex. 

Adult in Winter. —Similar to the summer plumage, but having 
the head and neck streaked with pale ashy-brown. 

Young. — Very pale ashy-brown both above and below, the 
bases of the feathers whiter, the back and wings mottled with 







broken bars of pale brown ; the secondaries white at the ends 
and mottled with brown like the back; the primaries isabelline, 
ashy-white on the inner webs, and with slight remains of brown 
markings at the ends; upper and under tail-coverts white, 
distinctly mottled with brown ; the tail-feathers ashy-brown, 
mottled on the edges with white ; crown of head ashy-brown, 
slightly darker than the mantle, and streaked like the side of 
the face ; under surface of the body ashy-brown, the throat 
whiter, streaked with ashy ; under tail-coverts white, barred 
with light ashy-brown ; the under wing-coverts and axillaries 
ashy-brown like the breast ; bill ochre-yellow to the angle, then 
blackish to the tip ; tarsi and toes brownish. 

Mr. Saunders says that, after the moult of the next year, both 
the upper and under surfaces are much lighter, and pale grey 
feathers begin to show on the mantle, the outer primaries being 
all but white. In immature birds the mottlings of the upper 
surface gradually disappear, and for a short time the bird 
appears to be creamy w^iite (in which phase of plumage it has 
received the name of L. hntchiiisi). At the subsequent moult 
the pearl-grey mantle is assumed, but the new tail-feathers 
show some faint brownish mottlings until the next year. 

Nestling-. — Of a stone-grey colour, slightly tinged with yellow- 
ish-buff below ; the back mottled with ashy-brown, and the 
head spotted with black. 

Characters. — The Glaucous Gull is distinguished by its large 
size, white head and tail, and especially by its white quills, 
with a faint shade of grey at the base. Only two Gulls of the 
white-winged group answer to this latter character, the Glaucous 
Gull and the Iceland Gull. 

Range in Great Britain. — This is an Arctic species, which visits 
us in winter only, and is then chiefly noticed in the northern 
parts of the British Islands. It is a more or less regular 
visitor, sometimes occurring in numbers, but less often on the 
west and south coasts ; young birds predominating. 

Range outside tlie British Islands. — A circumpolar species dur- 
ing the breeding season, wandering southwards in winter to 
the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas ; also recorded 
from Japan. In America it visits the Great Lakes, and reaches 
to Bermuda and Florida, and on the west coast of California 

^S Allen's naturalist's library. 

Habits. — The " Burgomaster," as this great Gull is often 
called, is a rapacious and omnivorous species, robbing other 
Gulls of their prey, and feeding on fish, offal, Crustacea, and 
young birds. Seebohm thus describes his experiences of the 
species in the north of Norway : — " The Glaucous Gull breeds 
on the cliffs at Vardo, and a large flock, composed principally 
of immature and entirely of non-breeding birds, frequents the 
stretches of sand left at low water near Vadso, thirty miles to 
the south of the breeding colony. When I was at this town, 
the Glaucous Gulls were always to be seen at all hours flying 
about the harbour ; but by far the greater portion of them 
retired to a distant sand-bank, which extended from the 
southern promontory of the island in the Varanger Fjord, 
apparently to roost, as the sun approached the north. They 
were very noisy before finally settling down to rest, continually 
uttering their loud and harsh note, which may be represented 
by the syllables ^ cut -Ink. ^ x\lthough at Vardo the Glaucous 
Gull breeds on the precipitous cliffs, Harvie-Brown and I 
afterwards found its nest on one of the low flat islands which 
separate the lagoon of the Petchora from the Arctic Ocean. 
This island was a flat desert of sand, unrelieved by a blade of 
grass, and it rises very slightly above the level of the sea, which 
varies very little (only five or six inches) with the tide." 

Nest. — The nests found by Seebohm on the Petchora are 
described by him as " heaps of sand hollowed slightly at the 
apex, and lined with some irregularly disposed tufts of sea- 
weed." Mr. Trevor-Battye thus describes the breeding of the 
species on the island of Kolguev: — "The nests of the Glaucous 
Gulls which we visited were situated on the highest ridge of 
the outer sand-banks to the south of Scharok Harbour. They 
were visible from a very long distance, and proved to be lumps 
formed of sand and mixed with sea-weeds and great quantities 
of hydrozoa {^Scriularia and others), on which flourished 
Arenaria peploides. The sand had in many cases originally 
collected round drifted timber, and the birds had taken advan- 
tage of this to raise upon it a pile some two feet and more in 
height. As the Samoyeds rob these nests constantly, one 
wonders that any young get off. Hyland was so violently 
mobbed by these birds, which stooped right down at his head, 
that he shot two ' in self-defence.' " 



Eggs. — Three in number. There is nothing very distinctive 
about the colour or markings of the eggs, which look like 
larger editions of those of the Lesser Black-backed Gull. 
Some examples are very sparsely marked, and have the spots 
few and far between, or else have a large blotch of black near 
the large end of the egg. Axis, 2'g^-T,'o^ inches; diam., 
2 -0-2 -1 5. To the red variety of the Herring-Gull's egg, figured 
by Seebohm as the egg of the Glaucous Gull, I have already 
alluded {snpra^ p. 73). 


Lariis leucopierus^ Faber, Prodr. Isl. Orn. p. 91 (1822); Macgill. 
Brit. B. V. p. 566 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 439, 
pi. 606 (1876); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 188 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 642 (1884); See- 
bohm, Plist. Brit. B. iii. p. -^^^^ (1885); Saunders, Man. 
Brit. B. p. 665 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxvi. 
(1893) ; Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 295 (1896). 

Adult Male. — Similar to Z. hyperboreits, but smaller, with pro- 
portionately longer wings ; back delicate pearly-grey, with white 
ends to the secondaries and scapulars ; primaries pearly-grey, 
white at the ends and along the inner webs ; rump, upper tail- 
coverts, and tail white ; head and neck all round, as well as the 
entire under parts, pure white. Total length, 23-5 inches ; 
culmen, 1*9; w^ing, 16*5; tail, 6'6 ; tarsus, 2*4. 

Adult Female.- -Similar to the male, but smaller. 

Young-. — Like that of L. hyperboreus^ and having the under 
surface light ashy-brown, with very pale brown mottlings on 
the upper surface. The size is, however, smaller. 

Characters. — Like L. hyperboreus, the present species has white 
quills, but is distinguished from the latter bird by its smaller 
size. Mr. Saunders observes (Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 297) : 
— " On the wing L. leucopterus has a much more buoyant flight 
than Z. glaKcus, and the length of wing, in proportion to its 
comparatively small bulk, is very noticeable ; but prepared and 
over-stuffed skins sometimes offer difficulties. Still, in spite of 
its longer wing in proportion to its bulk, the largest male 
Z. kucopter-us does not attain to the length of wing found in 
the smallest Z. Rlaiicusy 

8o Allen's naturalist's library. 

Range in Great Britain. — This small representative of the 
Glaucous Gull is only a visitor to Great Britain, though it some- 
times appears in some numbers off the coasts of Scotland ; it 
is of rarer occurrence off the English and Irish coasts. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The breeding-range of the 
Iceland Gull is in the Arctic regions, in Greenland, Jan Mayen 
Island, and, according to Saunders, perhaps on the American 
side of Baffin Bay. In winter it visits Iceland and, the Faeroes, 
as well as the shores of Scandinavia and the Baltic, and the 
north-west of Europe down to the Gulf of Gascony in severe 
seasons. In North America it descends to the latitude of 

Habits. — The only account of the habits of the Iceland Gull 
is that of Faber, of which an epitome is given in Saunders's 
edition of Yarrell's " British Birds " (iii. p. 646). About the 
middle of September both old and young birds appear off the 
coast of Ireland for the winter, disappearing about the end of 
April or the beginning of May. " These birds," says Faber, 
''were so tame that they came on land up to my winter dwell- 
ing on the northern coast to mop up the entrails of fish thrown 
away by the inhabitants, and disputed fiercely for them with 
the Ravens. I had one of these Gulls so tame that it came 
every morning to my door at a certain time to obtain food and 
then flew away again. It gave me notice of its arrival by 
uttering its cry. This Gull indicated to the seal-shooters in 
the fjord where they should look for the seals by continually 
follov\ing their track in the sea, by hovering in flocks, and with 
incessant cries, over them ; and whilst the seals hunted the 
sprat and the capeling towards the surface of the water, these 
Gulls precipitated themselves down upon the fish and snapped 
them up. In like manner they follow the track of the cod-fish 
in the sea, and feed upon the booty hunted up by this fish of 
prey. . . . This Gull was my weather-guide in winter. If 
it swam near the shore, and there, as if anxious, moved along 
with its feathers puffed out, then I knew that on the following 
day storms and snow were to be expected. In fine weather it 
soared high in the air. Hundreds often sit on a piece of ice, 
and in that way are drifted many miles. In its manners the 
Iceland Gull differs from the Glaucous Gull, which has the 


habits of the Greater Black-backed Gull, and moves with more 
energy. The n.iture of the Iceland Gull resembles more that 
of the Herring-Gull; its deportment and flight are more grace- 
ful ; it hovers over its prey, is somewhat greedy, always active, 
and is not afraid to fight with equal, or superior, antagonists 
for its food." 

Nest. — Has apparently not been described beyond the fact 
that it is a depression in the bare ground or on the ledges of 
precipices (Cf. Saunders, I.e.). 

Eg-g-s. — Two or three in number, laid early in June. Tlie 
British Museum contains several specimens from the Seebohm 
and Gould collections. They are very similar to the eggs of 
Z. hyperhoreus^ but are rather smaller, and have the ground- 
colour dark clay-brown, spotted all over with chocolate-brown, 
and with very evident underlying spots of purplish-grey. Some 
have the ground-colour greyish-olive, and on this type of egg 
the spots and blotches are very distinct and plentifully dis- 
tributed over the surface of the egg. Axis, 2 7-2 '9 inches; 
diam., •85-1*2. 

Fagophila, Kaup, Natiirl. Syst. pp. 69, 196 (1829). 
Type P. eburnea (Phipps). 
The beautiful Ivory Gull is the sole representative of the 
genus Paf^opliila, which is thoroughly Arctic in its habitat. Its 
uniform snowy plumage finds a curious parallel in the Antarctic 
Snowy Petrel (Pagodroma nivea) of the Southern Ocean. The 
genus Fagophila is characterised by the square tail, the hind- 
toe joined to the inner one by a strong, serrated membrane, 
all the nails being large and curved, the webs and toes being 
rugose, while the tibia is feathered nearly to the tibio tarsal 
joint. (Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. i6i.) 

The genus is represented by a single species, Pagophila 
eburnea, which is circumpolar in its distribution. 


Larus eburiieus, Phipps, Voy. N. Pole, App. p. 1S7 (1774); 

Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 337 (1885). 
Cetosparacfes eburtiais, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 508 (1852). 

ic G 

§2 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Fir^ophila ehuniea. Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 349, pi. 595 (1877); 
B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 186 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yar- 
rell's Brit. B. iii. p. 656 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 669 
(1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxvi. (1893) ; Saun- 
ders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 301 (1896). 

Adult Male. — Entirely snow-white above and below ; the quills 
also white, with white shafts and a faint shade of grey on the 
inner web; "bill, gamboge-yellow terminally, merging into 
greenish-grey on the basal two-thirds of both mandibles ; tarsi 
and toes black ; iris dark hair-brown; orbital ring brick-red" 
{H. Saunders). Total length, 18 inches; culmen, 17; wing, 
14*2; tail, 62; tarsus, 175. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but slightly smaller, and 
Mr. Saunders states that there is a tendency to show a 
shorter tarsus. Total length, 17 inches; wing, 12*8. 

Young. — White, but with a great deal of grey on the lores, 
sides of face, and throat. The upper surface and the wings 
spotted with greyish-black ; the bastard-wing, primary-coverts, 
and primaries with a black spot at the end ; tail-feathers with a 
black sub-terminal band. 

Nestling. — White. "Even in this stage," says Professor 
Collett, "they may be distinguished from the young of other 
species by the strong and hooked claws, particularly on the 
hind toe, the somewhat marginated web on the toes, and by 
the forward nostrils." The fledgeling is said by Mr. Saunders 
to be of a dull or smoke-grey colour. 

Range in Great Britain. — Some thirty occurrences of the 
Ivory Gull have been recorded from British waters, of which 
half have been adult individuals. They have been procured in 
England, Ireland, and Scotland, though the greater number, 
as might have been expected in a winter visitor from the 
north, have occurred in the latter kingdom. 

Range outside the British Islands. — " Circumpolar regions, w^ith- 
out any break of continuity ; but along those portions of the 
coast of Arctic America, where open water is non-existent, the 
bird is naturally scarce ; rare also in the Northern Pacific. In 
winter, southwards as far as the coast of France and Lake 
Leman (once), and New Brunswick, in America" {^Saunders). 


Ej.Mts. — The flight of the Ivory Gull is described by Colonel 
Feilden as being more like that of a Tern than of a Gull, and 
he says that it has a shrill note, not unlike that of the Arctic 
Tern. Its food consists of marine animals, as well as the 
droppings of walruses and seals, and the refuse of the carcases 
of the latter animals and whales cast aside by the hunters. 
Numbers were observ^ed by Malmgren sitting for hours round 
the ice-holes through which the seals came up, looking as if 
they were sitting round a council-table ; " a practice which has 
doubtless given rise to the curious name used by Martens in 
1675 for this Gull, viz., 'Rathsherr' (Councillor), a name 
analogous in its derivation to that of ' Biirgermeister ' (Mayor), 
used for the Glaucous Gull " {Saunders). 

Nest. — Composed of green moss, according to Professor 
Collett, this moss forming one-tenth of its mass. "The nest 
consists of small splinters of drift-wood, a few feathers, single 
stalks and leaves of algae, with one or two particles of lichen. 
No trace of straw is to be found ; a couple of pebbles may 
possibly have appertained to the under layer of the nest. The 
mosses occur in pieces of the size of a walnut or less, and have 
evidently been plucked in a fresh state from a dry subsoil, 
either on rocks or gravelly places. The feathers, of which a 
few were found, are snowy-white, and have probably fallen 
from the brooding bird." The nests are placed, as a rule, on 
the cliffs, at a height of from fifty to a hundred feet, and are 
often quite inaccessible. Those described by Professor Collett 
were obtained on the island of Stor-oen, off Spitsbergen, about 
sixteen English miles to the east of Cape Smith in 80° 9' N. 
Lat., by Captain Joh'^.nnesen. 

Eggs. — One, or two, in number. The ground-colour of five 
specimens sent to Professor Collett, were almost exactly alike, 
viz., a light greyish-brown tint, with a faint admixture of 
yellowish-green, such as often appears on the eggs of Larus 
caniis, which, however, have often a deeper brown or greener 
hue. In structure and gloss all the eggs brought to Professor 
Collett resemble those of Z. canus; but the granulations 
under the microscope are a little coarser, more uneven, and in 
larger numbers ; on the other hand, the granulations are 
perceptibly finer than in L, fitscus. The eggs are easily dis- 

G 2 

84 Allen's naturalist's librarv. 

tinguished from those of the Kittiwake by their greater gloss, 
the small excrescences are not so crowded together, and are 
a little more flattened than they usually are in the last- 
mentioned species. Axis, 2-i5-2*4 inches j diam., i'65-i75. 


.\issa, Stephens, in Shaw's Gen. Zool. xiii. part i, p. 1S9 (1826). 

Type, i?. iri dactyl a (Linn.). 

The chief character which distinguishes the Kittiwakes from 
the rest of the Gulls is the rudimentary condition or absence of 
the hind toe. The tarsus is much shorter than the middle toe 
with its claw, and the tail shews a slight tendency to be forked. 

Mr. Howard Saunders admits two species of Kittiwakes, our 
own familiar species {R. tridactyld) with dark brown feet and 
white under wing-coverts, and R. hrevirostrls^ from the Arctic 
Pacific Ocean, with vermilion-coloured feet and grey under 
wing-coverts. A third form, R, pollicaris^ with a slightly more 
developed hind-toe than in normal R. iridactyla^ and chiefly — 
but not exclusively — from the North Pacific, is recognised by 
some American naturalists, but is disallowed by Mr. Saunders. 


Larus iridady/us, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 224(1766); Scebohm, 

Hist. Brit. B. ui. p. 340 (1885). 
Rissa tridactyla (Linn.), Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 515 (1852); 

Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 447, pis. 607, 608 (1878); 

B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 187 (1883); Saunders, ed. 

Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 650 (1884); id. ALm. Brit. B. 

p. 667 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxiv. 

(1893); Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 305 (1896). 

Adult Male.— General colour above light slaty-grey, with 
narrow white ends to the scapulars ; wing-coverts grey like the 
back ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills light slaty-grey, 
the inner primaries fringed at the ends, and the secondaries 
narrowly tipped with white; the outer primaries grey, white 
along the inner webs; first primary black along the outer web, 
and also for two inches at the tips ; the second and third 
primaries also black at the ends, this black tip decreasing on 


the inner primaries, and forming a sub-terminal band on the 
fourth and fifth, which liave white tips, the band on the latter 
very narrow ; on the sixth the sub-terminal bar is very narrow 
and often reduced to a spot, and is occasionally entirely absent ; 
rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail pure w^hite; head and neck all 
round also pure white, extending on to the ui)per mantle ; entire 
under surflice of body pure white ; bill yellow, with a greenish 
tinge ; tarsi blackish ; toes dark brown. Total length, 16 inches ; 
culmen, i-y; wing, 12-4; tail, 475; tarsus, 1-45. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, i6'o inches ; 
wing, T3-0. 

Adult in Winter. — Differs from the summer plumage in having 
the hinder crown and neck washed with the same grey as the 
back ; in front of the eye a shade of dusky grey, and behind 
the ear-coverts a patch of blackish, which extends in a feeble 
degree round the nape, where it nearly forms a collar ; bill more 

Young-. — Similar to the winter plumage of the adult, but with 
black mottlings across the hind neck, forming a more or less 
complete black band ; the marginal wang-coverts and most of 
the lesser wing-coverts black, forming a band down the wing, 
which is continued by the black on the outer webs of the inner 
secondaries ; the primaries with more black on them than in 
the adults, the inner webs with a long white " wedge," but the 
black extending along the outer web and for some breadth 
along the inner edge of the shaft ; the fifth and sixth primaries 
with a sub-terminal bar of black, represented sometimes on the 
seventh by a black spot ; tail with a broad black band at the 
end, decreasing towards the outermost feathers. 

Nestling. — Dark grey, more fulvescent on the nape ; while 
below ; toes brown, the webs yellowish. 

Mr. Saunders observes that the birds of Bering Sea and the 
North Pacific are slightly larger than those of the Atlantic 
Ocean, and have a " little more development of the usually 
diminutive hind-toe. Sometimes there is a very minute, but 
sharply-pointed, nail on each hind-toe, though often on one only. 
This development is not confined to examples from the North 
Pacific, for it has been found in birds from the British Islands, 
Greenland, and the eastern side of North x^mericci,," 


Range in. Great Britain, — The Kittiwake is a thoroughly in- 
digenous species with us, being found on all our coasts. In 
summer it resorts to certain headlands and rocky islands to 
breed, and in some places it does so in enormous numbers. 
W^ell -known colonies of the Kittiwake are those of Lundy Island, 
the Fames, Flamborough, the Bass Rock, and they are especially 
numerous in the Orkneys and Shetland Isles. In Ireland, Mr. 
Ussher says, the Kittiwake breeds, often in large colonies, on 
the precipices of the coasts and islands of Donegal, Antrim, 
Dublin, Wexford, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is found 
in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions, from the farthest point 
yet visited by man to the north of Spitsbergen and up to 8i° 
40' in Smith Sound, down to the north-west of France, the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Atlantic side of North America, 
and the Kuril Islands in the Pacific. 

In winter it visits the Mediterranean, and the inland waters 
of Europe down to the Caspian, the Canaries, Bermuda, and 
both sides of America to about 35° N. Lat. The record 
of circumpolar continuity is complete between the North Cape 
and Bering Strait, by way of Siberia and the islands to the 
north, while in Arctic America it is only defective as regards 
the small interval between Prince Albeit Island and Point 
Barrow (//. Sannde7's). 

Habit'i. — Many descriptions of the colonies of Kittiwakes have 
been published in works on British Ornithology. One of the 
best accounts of some of the great assemblages of this Gull is 
that of the late Dr. Alfred Brehm, in his essay on the 
" Bird-Bergs of Lapland." * He writes : — ■ 

^' Different again is the life and activity on the bergs chosen 
as brooding-places by the Kittiwakes. Such a hill is the 
promontory Swartholm, high up in the north between the 
Laxen and the Porsanger fjords, not far from the North Cape. 
I knew^ already how these Gulls appear on their breeding-places. 
Faber, with his excellent knovdedge of the birds of the North, 
has depicted it, as usual, in a few vivid words : 

* "From North Pole to Equator: Studies of Wild Life and Scenes 
in many lands." Enc;l:sh Translation, by M. R. Thomson and J. 4. 
Thomson. (Blackie & Son : 1896. 


**'They hide the sun when they fly, they cover the skerries 
when they sit, they drown the thunder of the surf when they 
cry, they colour the rocks white where they breed.' I believed 
the excellent Faber after I had seen the Eider-holms and Auk- 
bergs, and yet I doubted, as every naturalist must, and there- 
fore I ardently desired to visit Swartholm for myself. An 
amiable Norseman with whom I became friendly, the pilot of 
the mail steamer by which I travelled, readily agreed to row me 
over to the breeding place, and we approached the promontory 
late one evening. At a distance of six or eight nautical miles 
we were overtaken by flocks of from thirty to a hundred, some- 
times even two hundred, Kittiwakes flying to their nesting-place. 
The nearer we approached to Swartholm the more rapid was 
the succession of these swarms, and the larger did they become. 
At last the promontory became visible, a rocky wall about 
eight hundred yards long, pierced by innumerable holes, rising 
almost perpendicularly from the sea to a height of from four 
hundred and fifty to six hundred feet. It looked grey in the 
distance, but with a telescope one could discern innumerable 
points and lines. It looked as though a gigantic slate had 
been scratched all over with all sorts of marks by a playful 
giant child, as though the whole rock bore a wondrous decora- 
tion of chains, rings, and stars. From the dark depths of laige 
and small cavities there gleamed a brilliant white ; the shelving 
ledges stood out in more conspicuous brightness. The brood- 
ing Gulls on their nests formed the white pattern, and we 
realised the truth of Faber's words, ' they cover the rocks when 
they sit.' 

" Our boat, as it grated on the rocky shore, startled a number 
of the Gulls, and I saw a picture such as I had seen on many 
eider-holms and gull-islands. A sliot from my friend's gun 
thundered against the precipice. As a raging winter storm 
rushes through the air and breaks up the snow-laden clouds till 
they fall in flakes, so now it snowed living birds. One saw 
neither hill nor sky, nothing but an indescribable confusion. A 
thick cloud darkened the whole horizon, justifying the descrip- 
tion, ' they hide the sun when they fly.' The north wind blew 
violently and the icy sea surged wildly against the foot of the 
cliffs, but more wildly itill resounded the shrill cries of the 
birds, so that the truth of the last part also of Faber's descrip- 

SS alt.en's naturalist's library. 

tion was fully proved, 'they drown the thunder of the surf 
when they cry.' At length the cloud sank do'vvn upon the sea, 
the hitherto dim outlines of Swartholm became distinct again 
and a new spectacle enchained our gaze. On the precipices 
there seemed to sit quite as many birds as before, and thousands 
were still flying up and down. A second shot scared new 
flocks, a second time it snowed birds down upon the sea, and 
still the hillsides were covered with hundreds of thousands. 
But on the sea, as far as the eye could reach, lay Gulls like 
light foam-balls rocking up and down with the waves. How 
shall I describe the magnificent spectacle? Shall I say that the 
sea had woven millions and millions of bright pearls into her 
dark wave-robe? Or shall I compare the Gulls to stars, and the 
ocean to the dome of heaven ? I know not ; but I know that I 
have seen nothing more gorgeous even on the sea. And as if 
the charm were not already great enough, the midnight sun, 
erewhile clouded over, suddenly shed its rosy light over 
promontory, and sea, and birds, lighting up every wave-crest as 
if a golden, wide meshed net had been thrown over the water, 
and making the rose-tinted dazzling Gulls appear more brilliant 
than before. We stood speechless at the sight ! " 

Nest. — Seebohm says that the nest of the Kittiwake is better 
made than is usual with the Gulls. In some districts the 
foundation is made of turf, with the soil adhering, which the 
salt spray and the wet feet of the birds soon turn into a kind 
of mortar. This foundation is finished off into a nest made of 
seaweed, pieces of marine vegetation, and finally lined with 
dry grass and sometimes a few feathers. The nests are 
generally placed upon ledges on cliffs, but in Alaska they were 
found on small islands by Mr. Dall, tlie birds making a simple 
depression in the sand. 

Egg's. — Two or three in number, very rarely four, according 
to Seebohm, who observes that the eggs of the Kittiwake are 
not easily compared with those of any other British Gull. Mr. 
Robert Read writes to me : — " The eggs of the Kittiwake vary 
as much as those of the Black-headed (juH, and they are found 
from almost pure white to deep purplish-brown, with still darker 
markings. They are, however, never so glossy as the eggs of 
the Gulls, resembling more the eggs of the Puffin in texture." 


The series in the British Museum varies from the typical 
Gull's egg of clay-brown \Yith distinct overlying spots of dark 
brown and underlying spots of grey, to bluish-grey or creamy- 
buff, with the markings faint or very much emphasized. In 
the faintly-spotted eggs, the grey underlying spots are the most 
prominent, and in some instances the larger end of the egg is 
blotched with black. Axis, 2 -2-2 -3 5 inches; diam., 1-5-1 7. 


In structure the Skuas differ markedly from the LaridcE, 
and their habits more resemble those of Frigate-Birds than 
Gulls, though some of the larger species of the last-named 
family are robbers by nature. These redeem their character, 
however, by other milder traits, whereas the Skuas are among 
the most predatory of sea-fowl. They differ from the Gulls 
and Terns in osteological characters, having only one notch 
in the posterior margin of the sternum, and the bill is 
furnished with a very elongated "cere," and is formidably 
hooked, while the claws are more like those of a bird of prey 
than those of a sea-bird, being strongly curved and very sharp. 
Two genera are contained within this Family, both of which 
are represented in the British Avi-fauna, and are described 


Megalesiri's, Bp. Cat. Parzud. p. 11 (1856). 

Types, M. catarHiactes (Linn.). 

The members of the genus Megalestrls are four in number, 
one of them, M. catarrhactes^ inhabiting the northern ocean, 
while another, AT. macconiiickii^ is only known from Victoria 
Land in the Antarctic Ocean. M. chiknsis inhabits the 
southern coasts of South America, and M. antarciica is found 
in the southern ocean from the Falkland Islands eastwards to 
New Zealand. The principal points of difference between the 
species of Megalestris and Stercor-arius consist in the larger 
bulk of the former and the shorter tail, the central feathers of 
which do not project more than half an inch beyond the rest, 
whereas in SUrcorarius this prolongation of the middle tail- 


feathers is a feature of the genus. The tarsus is a little shorter 
than the middle toe and claw. 


Lams catarrhactes^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 226 (1766). 

Lesiris catarrliades, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 479 (1852) ; Lilford, 
Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxvi. (1893). 

Stercorarius catarrhactes^ Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 457, pi. 609 
(1875); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 194 (1883): Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 664(1884); Seebohm, Hist. 
Brit. B. iii. p. 346 (18S5) ; Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 671 
(1889); id. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. ]). 315 (1S96). 

Adult Male. — General colour above dark umber-brown, mottled 
with rufous, the feathers being sub-terminally of this colour, and 
varied with whitish where the ends of the feathers have worn 
pale ; feathers of the neck rather more pointed, and showing 
pale straw-coloured shafts ; wing-coverts dark umber-brown, 
slightly mottled with white marks near the ends of the 
feathers; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills blackish, 
the outer primaries with yellowish-white shafts, the first quill 
white towards the base of the inner web, the next five white 
at the base of both webs, decreasing in extent on the inner 
primaries, but forming a conspicuous wing-speculum ; tail 
blackish ; crown of head nearly uniform, dark umber-brown 
very slightly mottled with reddish-brown centres to the 
feathers ; lores and region of the eye dusky umber-brown, the 
ear-coverts more rufescent brown ; under surface of body ]Dale 
chestnut rufous, varied with ashy grey bases to the feathers, 
some of the flank-feathers streaked with white shaft-lines and 
whitish at the ends; the under tail-coverts deeper rufous, with 
white shaft-streaks; under wing-coverts and axillaries dark 
umber-brown, the latter slightly rufous near the ends ; " bill 
black, the cere with a greyish tinge ; tarsi and toes black ; iris 
dark brown '' (ZT. Saunders). Total length, 2 1 "5 inches ; cul- 
men, 2*2 ; wing, i6'o; tail, 6*4; tarsus, 2"8. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male in plumage, though Mr. 
Saunders is inclined to believe that she is a little larger than 
her mate. 


Adult in Winter. — Mr. Saunders considers that there is scarcely 
any difference between the winter and summer plumages, and 
in the series in the British Museum there is scarcely any 
perceptible difference in colour, except when the plumage is 
worn, and then the pointed straw-coloured feathers of the 
neck become more prominent. 

Young- Birds. — According to Mr. Saunders, these are very 
similar' to the adults, but have less tendency to acumination 
and striation of the feathers of the neck, and show somewhat 
rufous margins to the feathers of the mantle. 

Nestling-. — Covered with bufiish-grey down ; more ruddy on 
the upper surface. 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — The Great Skua is an expiring species 
with us. From its predatory habits, it has been marked out for 
destruction ; but the desire of collectors to possess its eggs has 
probably done more to contribute to its extermination than 
any other cause. It is rarely seen on the coasts of England 
and Scotland during winter, and its breeding-places are now 
confined to the Shetlands, where two small colonies exist on 
Unst and Foula, where the birds are protected. 

Range outside tlie British Islands. — The breeding-range of the 
Great Skua is now restricted to a few localities. It nests in 
the Faeroes, in Iceland, and has been said to breed in North 
America, on some islands to the north of Hudson Strait. It 
occurs occasionally in South Grreenland and off the coast of 
Norway ; and wanders in winter as far as the Mediterranean, 
and, in North America, to the coast of New England. 

HaMts. — The following note is taken from Mr. Saunders's 
account of the habits of this species in his edition of Yarrell's 
" British Birds " (vol. iii. p. 665) : — •" There is no difficulty in 
finding the nests, as the parent birds attack any intruder upon 
their domain with fierce and repeated swoops. When handling 
the nestling, I found their assaults were unremitting ; first one 
bird and then the other wheeling short, and coming down at 
full speed, almost skimming the ground. At about fifteen 
yards' distance, the strong clawed feet are lowered and held 
stiffly out, producing for the moment a very ungainly appear- 
ance, and it seems as if the bird would strike the observer full 
in the centre of the body, but on quickly raising the hand or 

92 allen's naturalist's library. 

stick, the bird rises also, the whirr and vil^raticn of its pinions 
being distinctly heard and felt. Its ordinary flight is soaring 
and stately. On leaving the territory of one pair, the attack 
is taken up by another, and so on, for the Great Skuas do 
not nest in close proximity. In fearlessness this fine bird is 
unrivalled ; it has been seen to beat off the Sea-Eagle, and no 
Raven stands a chance against it. For this reason the pro- 
prietors of the land protect it ; Colonel Feilden says that in the 
Faeroes they also do so on account of the estimation in which 
the young are held for food ; but the fishermen shoot the old 
birds for the sake of the bill (for the neb-toll), feathers, and 
flesh, the latter making excellent fishing-bait. The stomachs 
of a pair which were shot were full of the flesh of the Kittiwake, 
and the castings consisted of the bones and feathers of that 
small Gull. Heysham has noticed an adult female on the 
coast of Cumberland, which allowed herself to be seized while 
she was in the act of killing a Herring Gull. It also feeds on 
fish offal, and I found by the side of a nestling some dis- 
gorged but otherwise uninjured herrings of large size." 

The late Dr. Saxby has given the following note on the 
species in his "Birds of Shetland " : — "The Great Skuas are 
usually seen singly or in pairs, except during the early summer, 
when they are assembled at the breeding-grounds ; upon these 
occasions I have seen considerable numbers about the same 
spot, but even then they were chiefly in pairs, except when 
they became mixed up by accident. At such times, when the 
young are about, the birds become very daring, sometimes even 
knocking a man's hat from his head. A dog has no chance 
with them, for they buffet him so severely in their rapid swoops 
that he soon has to retire discomfited. I once had four of 
them sailing in circles close round my head as I stood upon 
the crow^n of the highest hill in Unst, Saxaford, and could 
almost touch them with my gun, the sound of which, by the 
w\ay, did not seem to cause them much alarm ; perhaps they 
divined how^ little they had to fear so far as I was concerned. 
The female is rather lighter in colour than the male, and is 
by far the bolder of the two. During the breeding-season the 
Skua will come to such close quarters with an intruder that I 
have known a man strike at one with a tether, and entangle 
it and bring it to the ground." 


In its mode of capturing prey the Great Skua is almost 
Accipitrine in its liabits, and lives chiefly upon the toil of the 
smaller Gulls, which it follows with fierce pertinacity, and 
compels them to disgorge the fish they have captured ; nor, if 
one of their number is wounded or in distress, will it hesitate 
to pursue and seize it. For this reason it is ahiiost as much 
dreade d as a Peregrine or other bird of prey. 

Nest. — A hollow in the moss on the upland moors, with 
sometimes a bit of grass as a lining. 

Eggs. — Two, sometimes only one, laid in May and June. 
The ground-colour is dark chocolate-brown or olive-brown, so 
dark that the spots do not stand out in bold contrast, the spots 
being generally of a reddish-brown colour, sometimes very 
faint, and at others inclining to blackish, especially when they 
become confluent at the large end of the egg. Axis, 2 -55-2 -9 
inches; diam., i •85-1*95. 


S/e/wrarius, Briss. Orn. vi. p. 149 (1760). 

Type, probably S. c?'epidaius (Banks). 

The genus Stercorarius comprises a few species of much 
smaller size than the members of the genus Megaksiris^ though 
they are equally parasitic in their habits, and are armed with 
equally fierce talons, and the accipitrine cere of the Great 
Skuas. The central tail-feathers are elongated beyond the 
others to the extent of three inches at least, and often to a 
length of eight or nine inches. The tarsus is distinctly shorter 
than the middle toe and its claw. (Cf. Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. 
Mus. XXV. p. 314.) 

Three species of the smaller Skuas are known, all of them 
Arctic in their habitat, ranging south in winter, one of them, 
S. pomafor/iiniis, wandering at that season of the year into 
the southern oceans. 


Lesiris pomarina, Temm. Man. d'Orn. p. 514 (1815) ; Macgill. 
Brit. B. V. p. 487 (.1852); Lilford, Cob Fig. Brit. B. part 
xxi. (1892). 

94 atxen's naturalist's library. 

Stercorarius pomatorhinus^ Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 463, pi. 610 
(1877) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 194 (1883) ; Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 668 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. 
p. 673 (1889) ; id. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 323 (1896). 

Stcrcorarius poniarinus^ Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii.p. 349 (1885). 

Adult Male.— General colour above dark slaty-bro^vn, the 
lateral upper tail-coverts with some white bars, mostly con- 
cealed ; wing-coveits like the back ; bastard-wing, primary- 
coverts, and quills blackish-brown, browner on the inner w^eb, 
and with a good deal of white at the base of the latter, 
decreasing in extent on the inner primaries ; tail blackish- 
brown ; crown of head black, forming a cap, the black 
extending over the lores, feathers below the eye and fore part 
of cheeks ; the feathers of the occiput acuminate like those of 
the hind neck, which is straw-yellow like the sides of the face 
and sides of the neck; the hind-neck slaty-brown like the 
back, but mottled with white bars ; throat straw-yellow like the 
sides of the neck, the chin w^iiter; remainder of under surface 
of body white, the lower throat and fore-neck mottled thickly 
wath black bars and edgings to the feathers, the sides of the 
body and flanks also mottled in the same way ; the lower 
abdomen and under tail-coverts nearly uniform slaty-brow^n, 
only slightly mottled with white ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries uniform slaty-brown, the lower primary-coverts lighter 
slate-grey ; bill horn-brown ; tarsi and toes reddish-brown. 
Total length, 21 inches; culmen, 17; wing, i4'6 ; tail, 4*9 ; 
centre tail-feathers, 7 '5; tarsus, 2-1. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 20-5 
inches ; wing, 14*0. 

Adult in Winter. — Similar to the summer plumage, but for 
some years after the attainment of adult — though not mature 
— plumage, there is a tendency, after the autumnal moult, to 
show striated feathers on the flanks, as well as on the upper and 
under tail-coverts. (Saunders, Cat. B. xxv. p. 326.) 

The pectoral band is wider in immature birds, the yellow 
on the neck is not so evident, and the flanks are generally 
streaked. There are more bars on the under surface of the 
body, and the upper and under tail-coverts, as well as the 
under wing coverts, are barred or mottled with black and 


\vliite ; the central tail feathers rarely project for more than two 
inches. Like other members of the genus Stercorarius^ the 
Pomatorhine Skua has a melanistic phase, which is generally 
considered to occur in old birds only, because of the yellow 
which is seen on the neck. Mr. Saunders, however, doubts 
whether any of these dark specimens are really old birds, and 
he quotes an instance of a specimen kept alive for some years 
by the late Mr. Booth, which gradually became whiter and 
whiter on the lower parts of the body. 

Young-. — Sooty-brown above, the head and neck uniform, 
but the mantle and back mottled with rufous edgings to the 
feathers ; wing-coverts obscurely edged with rufous, the greater 
coverts and scapulars somewhat more plainly margined \ 
upper tail- coverts banded with sooty-brown and white or sandy- 
buff; tail-feathers sooty-brown, slightly edged with rufous at 
the tips ; sides of face and throat uniform sooty-brown ; under 
surface of body dull ashy-brown, with concealed whitish bars ; 
the abdomen paler and crossed with dusky bars ; the under tail- 
coverts banded with dusky-brown and buffy-white; sides of 
body darker than the breast ; under wing-coverts and axillaries 
banded w^ith blackish-brown and white ; lower primary-coverts 
white, with dusky bands at the ends ; quills blackish below, 
with a great deal of white towards the base of the inner web ; 
" bill brown, with a greenish tinge ; tarsus often blue or grey 
in patches ; bases of the toes yellowish " {H. Sainiders). 

Characters. — The larger size and darker feet, with the brow^n 
hind-toe distinguish young birds of the Pomatorhine Skua from 
the young of the other two species of Siercorarius. The adult 
bird is known by its greater dimensions, the wing being over 
fourteen inches, and by the greater breadth of the central tail- 
feathers, which are rounded at the ends, and project four 
inches beyond the others, being twisted vertically. (Cf. 
Saunders, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 322). 

Range in Great Britain. — A migrant to the seas of the British 
Islands, sometimes occurring in large numbers, as in 1879 and 
1880. Many individuals remain on our southern coasts during 
some winters, and specimens have been obtained inland after 
severe gales. On the northward migration in spring, the 
species is seldom observed. 

90 Allen's naturallst*s library. 

Range outside the British Islands. — During the breeding seasori 
the Pomatorhine Skua is found in the arctic tundra of both 
hemispheres, and in winter the species wanders into the 
southern oceans, having been obtained in Northern AustraUa, 
Western and South-western Africa, and on the coast of Peru. 

Habits. — Mr. E. W. Nelson, who met with the present species 
in Alaska, writes : "They are clumsy and cowardly birds as 
compared with their smaller relatives. When one of this 
species happen to cross the path of the smaller species, the 
latter almost invariably gives chase, and beats its clumsy 
antagonist off the field by repeatedly darting down from above. 
This attack embarrasses the large bird so much that it flinches 
and dives, and often alights and watches an opportunity to 
escape from its nimble assailant. One that was driven to alight 
in the river thrust its head under water at every swoop of its 
enemy, and exhibited the most ludicrous terror. When on the 
wing they usually ward off an attack from one side by a half- 
closed wing, and if from above, both wings are raised, forming 
an arched shield above the back. This large bird has a low, 
harsh, chattering cry when feeding with its companions. The 
peculiar twist of the long tail-feathers of this species renders it 
conspicuous and identifiable at almost any distance." 

Mr. II. J. Pearson noticed the Pomatorhine Skua off Novaya 
Zemlya, but did not succeed in finding a nest. He thinks 
that many of them do not breed in bad seasons, and adds : 
" If this idea should prove to be a fact, it may be a provision 
of nature to prevent the Skuas from becoming too numerous. 
They are well able to defend their eggs and young from the 
birds of prey found in the same countries and equally capable 
of taking care of themselves, so that the only foes they need 
fear are old age and deficiency of food." 

Nest. — A mere depression in the moss. 

Eggs. — Two in number. Similar to those of the Great Skua, 
but much smaller, and not so dark in colour, as a rule. The 
groundcolour is a very deep olive or clay-brown, the spots 
being reddish brown, or more often blackish brown, and 
having a tendency to become confluent round the larger end. 
Sometimes the overlying markings are very faint and the grey 

underlying spots are small and indistinct. Axis, 2* 2 5-2-5 
inches; diam., 1-85-1 75. 

II. Richardson's skua, stercorarius crepidatus. 

Lams crepidatus, Banks, in Cook's Voy. Hawksworth's ed. ii. 

P- 15 (1773)- 
Lestrts richardsoni, Swains. ; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 492 (1852) ; 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxi. (1896). 
Stercorarius crepidatus, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 471, pis. 

611, 612, fig. 2 (1876); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 195 

(1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 674 (1884) ; 

id. Man. Brit. B. p. 675 (1889). 
Stercorarius richardsoni, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 353 


{Plate cm.) 

Adult Male (Pale Form). — General colour above dark slaty- 
brown, the wing-coverts like the back ; bastard-wing, primary- 
coverts and primaries blackish, with yellowish-white shafts, 
light ashy-brown on the inner web, with a little white 
at the base of both webs ; tail slaty-brown, blacker towards 
the end of the feathers, the two centre feathers much 
elongated ; crown of head darker slaty-brown, forming a cap, 
with a line of white at the base of the forehead ; lores and 
feathers under the eye slaty-brown, blacker in front of the 
eye ; remainder of sides of face and sides of neck white, as 
well as a collar round the hind neck, with a tinge of 
straw-yellow ; the hind neck and upper mantle light ashy- 
brown, with white shaft-lines ; under surface of body white, 
with a shade of ashy-brown on the fore-neck, darker and more 
distinct on the sides of the breast and sides of body, and 
again darker on the under tail-coverts, with white shafts and 
bases to the latter feathers ; under wing-coverts and axillaries 
dark slaty-brown ; " bill horn-colour ; tarsi bluish in life, 
drying olivaceous ; toes black " {H. Saunders). Total length, 
20 inches; culmen, 1-55; wing, 12-3; tail, 5*5 ; long centre 
feathers, 7*85; tarsus, 1-75. 

Adult Female.— Similar to the male. Total length, 19-3 
inches; wing, 12-8. 

IS " 

98 Allen's naturallst's library. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Mr. Saunders describes this phase of 
plumage as being similar to that of 6". pomatorJiinus^ the winter 
dress resembling that of summer, but having a tendency to 
show striations upon the under parts, and especially on the 
flanks, while the yellow on the neck is less pronounced. 

Dark Form. — On the melanistic birds of the present species 
Mr. Saunders gives the foUow^ing note: — "The dark-breasted 
form is rare to the northwards of lat. 70°, beyond which the 
white-breasted one is the representative form ; but southward, 
both races are found. The colour has no relation to sex, 
and dark and light birds are constantly to be found paired. 
The offspring of this union, when adult, is intermediate in 
character, having a dusky-whitish throat, more or less of an 
ash-brown band across the breast, and a considerable amount 
of brown on the flanks. Individuals irregularly spotted with 
white are not very rare." 

Young. — Mr. Saunders describes the offspring of two white- 
breasted birds as pale cinnamon-brown on the head and under 
parts, with dark streaks and bars ; the feathers of the upper 
parts umber-brown, with rufous edges. The offspring of two 
dark birds is much darker, with greyer tips to the feathers ; 
while the offspring of one white-breasted bird and one sooty- 
bird is intermediate, as might be expected. The tarsi and 
bases of the toes are yellowish, and the front portion of the 
toes is black. 

Immature birds are streaked and mottled with various 
shades of brown on the upper surfaces ; mantle chiefly umber; 
upper tail-coverts barred with dark brown, white, and rufous ; 
under surface more or less barred with brown on a paler 
ground {Saunders). 

Nestling. — Sooty-brown above, paler on the under surface, 
the nestlings of dark parents being more dusky than those of 
the white-breasted ones. 

Charactera, — The adult of Richardson's Skua is distinguished 
from that of the Pomatorhine Skua by its smaller size, the 
wing being less than fourteen inches, and by its long and 
tapering central tail-feathers, which often project three inches 
beyond the others. 


From 6*. parasiticus, the present species is distinguished by 
its comparatively longer bill and by the white shafts to the 
primaries, whereas S. parasiticus has only the two outer prima- 
ries white-shafted. The young birds can be told from young 
S. poniatorhinus by their smaller size, but it is difficult to 
distinguish the young of S. crepidatus and S. parasiticus. 

Range in Great Britain. — Richardson's Skua breeds in the 
Shetland and Orkney Islands, as well as in Sutherland and 
Caithness, whilst it is also found nesting in the Hebrides. 
During migration it occurs on both the Scottish coasts, but 
more frequently occurs on the east coast of England than on 
the west coast. It also visits Ireland at intervals. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species breeds 
throughout the Arctic and sub- Arctic regions of both hemi- 
spheres, its Scottish habitat constituting its southern limit. In 
winter Richardson's Skua extends its range to the southern 
oceans, having been recorded from the Cape of Good Hope, 
the shores of the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and as far 
as Australia and New Zealand, while it has also been noted 
from as far south as Rio de Janeiro in South America. 

HaMts. — The habits of all the Skuas, or Jaegers, as they are 
called by American naturalists, are very much the same. The 
follow^ing account of Richardson's Skua on the island of 
Kolguev has been published by Mr. A. Trevor-Battye : — 

" Although greatly dependent when at sea upon the labours 
of other Gulls, the breeding pairs are as persistent robbers of 
eggs as Rooks in a dry season, and may be constantly seen 
quartering the tundra for eggs or young. I should be inclined 
to estimate that of breeding birds on Kolguev there is about 
one pair to every seven square miles of country. We never 
found a colony, nor even two pairs together. All those I saw 
belonged to the light-coloured race. On June 29 we took 
eggs about incubated. A nest containing one egg (July 7), 
was a simple depression in dry grass : the egg had a remarkable 
escape. We were driving along — four sleighs, which meant 
eighteen reindeer — when I called out to my companion 
Hyland, who was in front, to stop ; for, some thirty yards or 
so away, a pair of Skuas were behaving as though they had a 
nest. However, we could make nothing of it, and had just 

II 2 


taken our seats again to start off, when, as I stooped down to 
disengage the hind leg of one of my deer, lo and behold, there 
was a nest under my sleigh. The whole train of sleighs had 
passed over this nest, and yet the single egg was not broken. 
On August 7 w^e picked up a young Skua and brought it back 
alive. This bird was almost full-grown, and had well-developed 
primaries. Its parents showed no anxiety about it. It was 
beside a lake, and as we approached, ran and hid in some 
grasses. It bit viciously, but made no noise." 

" I never in any single instance knew an Arctic Skua to stoop 
at a visitor near its nest. On the contrary, an intrusion was met 
by every wile of allurement. It was the old game of ' hot or 
cold ; ' until at last, when you stood close to the nest, both the 
birds were reduced to a state of helplessness. At such a time 
they behaved exactly alike. Sitting on their tails, either in the 
water or on the grass, and beating forwards with their wings, 
they mewed all the time like cats." 

I have taken the following notes from Mr. E. W. Nelson's 
"Report on Collections from Alaska ":—" During summer 
these Jaegers show a much greater preference for marshes and 
the low^ barren grounds so common in the north than they do 
for the vicinity of the sea-coast. At the Yukon mouth and 
near Saint Michael's they arrive with the first open water, from 
the loth to the 15th of May. The snow still lies in heavy 
drifts on most of the open country, but the Jaegers take pos- 
session and feed upon the Shrew-mice and Lemmings which 
are common on this ground. By the last of May they are 
very common, and twenty or thirty may be seen in a day's 

'' The young are on the wing by the end of July and early 
August. The last birds move southward, or keep out to sea, 
after the 20th of September. On cloudy days, or in the dusky 
twilight, these birds have a habit of uttering loud wailing cries, 
interspersed with harsh shrieks, which are among the most 
peculiar notes heard in the northern breeding-grounds. At all 
times the Jaegers are given to wandering, and one is likely to 
find them almost anywhere along the coast. They are not 
infrequently seen harrying Terns or Gulls to make them disgorge 
fish just caught. If successful, they dart down, and rising 
under the falling morsel catch it in their capacious mouth. 


This robbery is often performed by two birds in unison, but 
whether the birds alternate in disposing of the spoil or not 
could not be learned. When a Jaeger is wounded, others of 
its kind show much concern, and I have secured several birds 
in succession which were drawn within range by the cries and 
struggles of their companions. The habits in general of this 
and the following species are extremely similar along the coast 
region of Bering Sea, and both breed abundantly on all that 
broad belt of low barren plains and marshy country bordering 
the coast along the entire northern end of the continent. When 
surprised near its nest it creeps along the ground with flapping 
wings to decoy away the intruder." 

Nest. — As a rule, a depression in the moss, but Mr. Trevor- 
Battye found one in Kolguev which was among dead water- 
grass in a bog, and was more than a mere depression, for 
grasses had been walled into the lining. 

Eggs. — Two in number. Ground-colour dark chocolate- 
brown varying to light clay - colour, the darker eggs more 
strongly marked with deep brown or blackish, the spots being 
distributed over the greater part of the egg, and the grey under- 
lying markings very indistinct. The pale eggs have the spots 
collected round the larger end, the rest of the egg being rather 
free from markings. Axis, 2-3-2-55 inches; diam. i "5-1 -65. 

III. buffon's skua. stercorarius parasiticus. 

Larus parasiticus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 226 (1766). 
Lesfris parasitica, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 503 (1852). 
Stercorarius parasiticus, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 481, pi. 612, 

fig. I (1876); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 195 (1883); 

Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 681 (1884); id. 

Man. Brit. B. p. 677 (1889). 
Stercorarius bujfoiii, Boie ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 358 

Lestris parasiticus, Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxu. 


Adult Male. — General colour above slaty-grey, the wing-coverts 
and scapulars like the back ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts and 

102 Allen's naturalist's library. 

quills blackish, the latter browner on the inner web ; the fust 
two primaries with white shafts ; the innermost secondaries 
grey like the back ; tail-feathers slaty-grey, blackish towards 
the ends ; crown of head black, forming a cap ; the lores and 
sides of face up to the fore-part of the eye blackish, as also the 
fore-part of the cheeks at the base of the lower mandible ; rest 
of the sides of the face and a collar round the hind neck white, 
washed with ochreous-buff ; throat and fore-neck and chest 
white, with more or less of an ochreous tinge ; remainder of 
under surface of body from the chest downwards pale slaty- 
grey, including the under tail-coverts, under wing-coverts, and 
axillaries ; " bill horn-colour ; tarsi bluish in life, drying oliva- 
ceous ; toes h\^ck'' {H. Saunders). Total length, 21 inches; 
culmen, i-i ; wing, ii'S; tail, 4-6 ; centre tail-feathers, 11*5 ; 
tarsus, 1-65. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male in colour, but with slightly 
shorter central tail-feathers. 

Adult in Winter Plumage.— Similar to the summer plumage, but 
as in the other species, there is, according to Mr. Saunders, a 
tendency, after the autumnal moult, to show striated feathers 
on the flanks, and on the upper and under tail-coverts. 

Immature Birds. — Differ from the adults in having very little 
yellow on the sides of the neck, and in having the under parts 
and upper tail-coverts barred with varying degrees of ash-brown. 
The young are ash-brown above, the head darkest, the feathers 
of the mantle and tail-coverts merely tipped with buft', but 
without any rufous tint, the under parts being dull greyish- 
white, barred with ash-brown (Saunders). 

Nestling. — Greyish-brown above and below, much paler and 
greyer than in S. crepidatus. 

Characters. — Mr. Saunders points out that in this species 
there is always a "very characteristic grey tint in all its ])hases." 
The adult bird is certainly lighter grey than S. crepidaius^ from 
which S. parasiticus also differs in its smaller size, comparatively 
shorter bill, and long centre tail-feathers, which sometimes 
project to a length of nine inches. Only the two outer 
primaries have white shafts. 


Range in Great Britain. — An irregular migrant to our waters, 
principally occurring on the east coasts, more rarely in the 
Channel and on the west coasts. It has never occurred in 
Scotland, according to Mr. Saunders, in any numbers, during 
the cold season, and in Ireland it has been noticed in autumn, 
and, sparingly, in spring. 

Rang-e outside the British Islands. — " High circumpolar regions, 
seldom breeding south of the Arctic Circle, unless on lofty 
fells ; in autumn and winter migrating southwards as far as the 
Straits of Gibraltar, as well as to about 40^^ N. lat. on the 
Atlantic side of America, and a little farther on the Pacific 
side " {Saii/iders). 

Habits. — For a good account of the habits of Buffon's Skua 
we are indebted to Mr. E. VV. Nelson's ''Report," a work which I 
have had much pleasure in introducing to English readers in the 
course of the present work. Pie writes : — " This graceful and 
handsome bird is the most common of the Jaegers on the 
Alaskan coast and vicinity, and especially about Saint Michael's. 
They arrive in this vicinity about the 12th or 15th of May, but are 
not numerous until ten days or more later. They are first found 
quartering the marshes in small parties of from two to six or 
eight. They have a shrill pJicu-pheu-phcu-phcu, uttered w^hile 
they are flying, and while the birds are quarrelling or pursuing 
one another the ordinary note is often follow^ed by a harsh qua. 
At another time they have a rattling kr-r-r-r, kr~7'-r-r^ ki^-r-r-i-, 
kri-kri-kri-h'i, the latter syllables shrill and querulous, and 
sometimes followed by the long-drawn pJicu-pJieu-phcu in the 
same tone. They appear to be much more playful than the 
other Jaegers, and parties of six or eight may be seen pursuing 
one another back and forth over the marsh. The long, slender 
tail-feathers and extreme grace on the wing of those birds render 
them very much like- the Swallow-tailed Kite. The mating 
occurs with a great amount of noisy demonstration on the part 
of several rivals, but once paired, the birds keep by themselves, 
and early in June deposit their eggs in a depression on the 
mossy top of some knoll upon rising ground. 

"In one instance, on June 16, while I was securing the eggs 
of a MacrorhafHphus, a pair of these Jaegers kept circling 
about, uttering harsh screams and darting down within a few 


feet. As I approached the spot where the Snipe's eggs lay, 1 
noticed those birds on a knoll just beyond, but had paid no 
attention ; but as the birds kept leaving me to hover over the 
knoll and then return to the attack, I examined the spot, and 
there, in a cup- shaped depression in the moss, lay two dark 
greenish eggs marked with an abundance of spots. During 
the breeding season these birds and the preceding species have 
a cunning habit of tolling one away from their nests by dragging 
themselves along the ground and feigning the greatest suffering. 
They roll among the tussocks, beat their wings, stagger from 
side to side, and seem to be unable to fly, but they manage to 
increase the distance from their starting point at a very respect- 
able rate, and ere long suddenly launch forth on the wing. 

" After a successful hunt, the Jaegers of this and the last 
species alight upon some prominent knoll and sun themselves, 
their white breasts showing for a long distance. They are very 
curious at times, and I have called them within gunshot on 
several occasions by tossing some conspicuous object into the 
air as the birds were passing. On one occasion I saw a Jaeger 
swoop down at a Duck paddling quietly on the surface of a 
pond, and the latter went flapping away in mortal terror, w^hile 
the Jaeger passed on, probably highly pleased at giving the 
Duck such a fright. 

" Their taste is omnivorous, and they harry the marshes for 
Mice and Lemmings, and feast upon the dead fish and other 
animal matter cast up by the sea, or search the hillsides for 
berries. The arrival of a vessel in their neighbourhood calls 
them about to secure the offal thrown overboard. The Eskimo 
say that they eat just what men like, hence the name given 
them, derived from the word 'yuk,* or ' man.' 

" The swiftness and dexterity with w^iich they pursue Gulls 
and force them to disgorge is a beautiful sight to witness ; and 
while either of the small Terns or Gulls can drive the Jaeger 
from the vicinity of their nest, the latter robs them of their 
prey at pleasure. While I was camping at the Yukon mouth a pair 
of these birds made their haunt in the vicinity of my tent and fed 
upon the offal thrown upon the ice a few yards from the door. 
They soon became very familiar, and were always on hand, 
hovering close overhead when we came in from a hunt. They 
would stand about within a few yards and watch us with wistful 

AUKS. T05 

eyes, ready to pounce upon any morsel tossed them ; and if a 
fragment was held up in the hand, they would hover a few feet 
over it, although not daring to come closer. They also soon 
became used to our shooting, and scarcely noticed it even 
when near by. Unfortunately our companionship lasted only 
about ten days, when I broke camp, and so lost the opportunity 
of gaining their complete confidence. After the first few days 
they seemed to appropriate the camp, and made a fierce attack 
upon any others of their kind that chanced to come near." 

Nest. — A cup-shaped depression in the moss. 

Eggs. — Two in number. Smaller than those of S. crepidaUis, 
rather paler in tint, and more olive, some being light clay-brown. 
Two in the Seebohm collection in the British Museum are light 
bluish-green, very sparsely marked, and all the lighter-coloured 
eggs appear to be less plentifully spotted. Axis, 2 -0-2 -2 inches; 
diam. i'5-i-6. 


The Auks, though outwardly so different from the Gulls, and 
possessing features in their economy so dissimilar to the latter 
birds, have nevertheless many characters in common with 
them, such as the schizognathous palate, the schizorhinal 
nostrils, the absence of basipterygoid processes, the furcation 
of the spinal feather-track on the upper back, and the webbed 
feet. Externally they differ from the Gulls in their squat 
appearance, their extraordinary diving powers, their close-set 
plumage, and in the manner of nidification and the shape of 
the eggs. They also have a double moult in the year. 

The Auks are all birds of the northern hemisphere, breeding 
in the arctic and sub-arctic regions. They wander south in 
winter, but are never found to the south of the equator. Some 
of them, such as the Puffins, have ornamental plumage in the 
shape of brightly-coloured crests and tufts of feathers on the 
sides of the head, as well as an ornamental colour on the bills, 
which is shed after the breeding season, just as other birds 
moult their feathers, 

lo6 ATJ.E\'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 


A lea, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 210 (1766). 

Type, A. tarda, Linn. 

The Razor-bills belong to the group of Auks which have a 
sulcated or grooved bill and exposed nostrils, the latter not 
being encroached upon by the feathering of the base of the 
bill, as is the case with many genera of the family. In the 
case of the Razor-bills the nostrils are exposed, and situated at 
the end of a triangular base on the mandible, but they are not 
separated by a ridge from the feathers which encroach on the 
base of the bill, though there is a swollen ridge at the base of 
the lower mandible, anterior to the nostril. The Great Auk is 
merely a gigantic form of Razor-bill, with a heavier body and 
feebler wings than its more active congener, AIca to?'da, so 
that while the latter survives to the present day in thousands, 
the Giant Razor-bill, as the "Great Auk" ought more properly 
to be called, has succumbed to circumstances and become 

In addition to the characters given above, the Razor-bills 
differ from the Great Auk {inft-a, p. iii) in the possession of 
fully developed wings, which reach nearly to the end of the 
tail. They have also well-marked grooves on the bill. 

The typical species, A. to7'da, is the only representative of 
the genus at the present day. 


Aha iorda, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 210 (1766); Dresser, B. 

Eur. viii. p. 557, pi. 619 (1877); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. 

p. 205 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 55 

(1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 375 (1885); 

Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 679 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. 

Brit. B. part xii. (1890). 
Uta??ianta torda^ Linn. ; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 346 (1852). 

{Plate CIV.) 

Nestling. — Covered wn'th dense sandy-brown down, mottled 
with black bases to the feathers ; the crown of the head and 
sides of face and neck more hoary-grey ; cheeks and throat 




blackish ; lower throat and rest of under surface of body dull 
whitish ; sides of body like the back. 

The first plumage, after the downy stage, is black above, 
including the sides of the face and sides of neck, the black 
extending across the lower throat ; under surface of body 
white, the lower flanks with dusky tips ; along the upper edge 
of the lores is a very narrow line of white ; the bill is black, 
very narrow, and shows a white "nail" on the end. 

Adult Male. — General colour above black, including the 
wings and tail, the secondaries tipped with white, form- 
ing a band ; entire sides of face and sides of neck velvety- 
brown, occupying the upper part of the throat, but ex- 
tending in a well-defined line down the sides of the latter 
across to the sides of the upper breast, leaving the white 
of the lower throat and fore-neck to end in a blunt triangle ; 
entire under surface from the lower throat downwards, pure 
white, the fore-part of the tibia brown ; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries white; a distinct line of white running from the 
base of the culmen along the upper lores to the middle of the 
eye ; " bill black, with a curved transverse white line in the 
centre on each side ; legs, feet, and claws brownish black ; iris 
hazel" {Seelwhm). Total length, 15 inches; culmen, 1*4; 
wing, 7-3; tail, 3-0; tarsus, 1-2; middle toe and claw, i-8. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 16 inches ; 
wing, 7-2. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Similar to the summer plumage as 
regards the upper surface, but having no blackish brown on the 
throat ; the feathers of the lores dark brown, extending back- 
wards in a band below the eye across the ear-coverts ; area 
behind the eye white, extending over the sides of the neck, and 
including the whole of the cheeks and the entire throat and 
under surface of the body ; the white line along the upper edge 
of the lores very indistinct, but still traceable ; the bill with 
ridges and the transverse white line. 

Young in Winter Plumage. — Similar to the adult in winter 
plumage, but always to be distinguished by its smaller and 
narrower bill without vertical ridges; the white loral line is 
either obsolete or scarcely traceable. 

loS Allen's naturallst's library. 

Seebohm says tliat, after the first spring moult, the adult 
nuptial plumage is almost completely assumed, but the bill, 
although presenting the white transverse stripe, has only two, 
instead of the three, transverse grooves which characterise the 
old bird. 

Range in Great Britain. — An inhabitant of the rocky coasts, 
nesting in such locahties from Cornwall to the Shetlands. It 
also breeds on the Channel Islands. With regard to Ireland, 
Mr. Ussher remarks that it "breeds usually in great numbers 
on cliffs off the coasts and islands of Donegal, Antrim, Dublin, 
Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, and 
Sligo." In winter it is found in the British seas, and is occa- 
sionally driven far inland during stormy weather. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Razor-bill is an inhabi- 
tant of the Atlantic Ocean, occurring on the shores of North 
America on the Atlantic, but not on the Pacific, shores. It 
breeds in Norway up to 69° N. Lat., as well as in the Faeroes 
and Iceland, probably in Jan Mayen Island, but not, so far as is 
known, in Spitsbergen. Its most southern breeding range, 
according to Saunders, is the coast of Brittany ; though in 
winter it is seen in the Mediterranean, and even as far as the 
Canaries. It is found in Eastern North America, breeding in 
Greenland up to about 70^ N. Lat., and on the coasts of 
Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, wintering some- 
what to the south of these countries, when it occurs off the 
New England coast. 

Habits. — Very similar to those of the Puffin and Guillemot, 
the species being equally gregarious both in summer and 
winter. It is met with on the Fame Islands, where, however, it 
is not very plentiful. My friend, the late Henry Seebohm, has 
written some interesting accounts of the birds observed by 
him in the last-named islands, and I quote the following from 
his " History of British Birds " : — 

" Like the Guillemot and the Puffin, the Razor-bill is a resi- 
dent in the British seas, but appears to be less numerous in 
winter than in summer, because it is spread over a much wider 
area, and lives for the most part out at sea. In its habits it 
very closely resembles the Guillemot, but is easily distinguished 
from that bird, even at a considerable distance, by its deeper 



bill and conspicuous stripe from its base to the eye. It is 
gregarious at all times of the year, and in some places literally 
swarms. In summer it comes to the rocky headlands and 
wild precipitous islets to rear its young ; but from its partiality 
for clefts in the rocks rather than ledges, it is almost absent 
from many places where the Guillemot breeds in great abun- 
dance, as, for instance, the ' Pinnacles ' in the Fame Islands. 
The Razor-bill is most at home in the water, where it vies 
even with the fish in activity and rapidity of movement. It 
floats on the heaving waves, light and buoyant as a cork, sitting 
well out of the water, its head and neck raised high above its 
back, very similar to a Duck or a Diver. It swims with ease, 
paddling at times very quickly, and often indulges in a frolic 
in the sea, splashing about with its wings, chasing its com- 
panions, and being chased by them in turn. It often sleeps on 
the water, tossed about seemingly at the mercy of the waves, 
but quite safe even in the roughest water. It is by no means 
a shy bird, and frequently allows a boat or a vessel to approach 
it within a few yards ere it takes wing or dives. Like the 
Guillemot and the Puffin, it is an expert diver, vanishing from 
view with great rapidity, leaving tiny air-bubbles to mark the 
place of its descent. It dives for a considerable distance 
below the surface, either in pursuit of a small fish or in search 
of crustaceans and molluscs hiding in tlie crevices of the rocks 
and amongst the seaweed at the bottom. The Razor-bill, in 
spite of its narrow and comparatively small wings, flies well, 
but does not rise very easily from the water, generally splash- 
ing along for a iew yards ere it gets well into the air. It never 
appears to fly about like the Puffin, and when it leaves its 
perch on the rocks generally darts headlong down into the sea, 
and, when leaving the water, soon makes for the rocks again. 
The flight is performed by rapid and incessant beatings of the 
wings. The Razor-bill is a clumsy object on the land, and 
very rarely attempts to walk far, progressing in a hobbling 
kind of way. This bird often goes long distances to feed, and 
then its flight can be seen to perfection, as the little troop of 
birds, usually in single file, pass rapidly along just above the 
surface of the waves. 

"The food of the Razor-bill is composed principally of small 
fish, especially of the fry of the herring and the coal-fish ; these 

iio At.TF.N's jnaturalist's library. 

are often pursued under the water with as much dexterity as 
the Swallow chases an insect in the air. The Razor-bill flies 
under the water aided by its webbed feet ; it is capable of 
remaining under the surface for a long time, and when sub- 
merged not only catches fish, but searches for crustaceans, 
molluscs, &c. The note of this bird, which is rarely heard, 
may be described as a low croaking sound." 

Nest. — None. The Razor-bill places its eggs on the rocks, 
but always, if possible, in some niche or crevice, sometimes 
far out of reach, and seldom in the open, though Saunders 
once saw an old Cormorant's nest appropriated by a Razor-bill. 
Both male and female incubate. 

'Egg. — One only, differing in shape from that of the Guille- 
mot, and the extraordinary variation in colour is not so marked 
as in the eggs of the latter bird. A reliable test for their identifi- 
cation consists in the fact that, when the egg of the Razorbill 
is held up against the light, and looked at through the blowing- 
hole, the inside always appears green, whereas the inside of a 
Guillemot's egg generally appears to be yellowish-green, though 
greenish eggs of the latter bird have often a pervading tint of 
green reflected through by the external colour of the egg. Mr. 
Robert Read writes : — " The Razor-l^ill lays its eggs on the bare 
rock, without any sign of a nest, like the Guillemot. The eggs 
are, however, usually placed in more sheltered positions than 
those of the latter bird, such as in a corner or hollow among the 
rocks, or under a projecting boulder. Some of the eggs with 
the red ground-colour are very handsome, but I have found 
them mingled with those with white and every intermediate 
shade of ground-colour on the same rocks. Some varieties of 
the Razor-bill's eggs are not easy to distinguish from those of 
the Osi)rey.'' 


Plautiis, Briinn. Zool. Fund., p. 78 (1872). 

Type P. impennis (Linn.). 

Only a single species of the genus Plmitus is known. Once 

plentiful within a limited latitude, it has become extinct within 

the present century, and, in spite of hopes that some indi- 

GREAT AUl<t. til 

Viduals might yet survive, year after year passes by without 
the discovery of a living specimen. That the species was extin- 
guished by the agency of man there can be httle doubt. Pro- 
fessor Alfred Newton writes in his " Dictionary of Birds " : — 
" In Iceland there is the testimony of a score of witnesses, 
taken down from their lips by one of the most careful naturalists 
who ever lived, the late John Wolley, that the latest survivors 
of the species were caught and killed by expeditions expressly 
organised wdth the view of supplying the demands of caterers 
to the various museums of Europe. In like manner the fact is 
incontestable that its breeding-stations in the western part of 
the Atlantic were for three centuries regularly visited and 
devastated with the combined objects of furnishing food or bait 
to the fishermen from very early days ; and its final extinction, 
foretold in 1792 by Cartwright ('Labrador,' iii. p. 55), was 
due, according to Sir Richard Bonnycastle {' Newfoundland, 
in 1842,' i. p. 232) to 'the ruthless trade in its eggs and skin.' 
No doubt that one of the chief stations of the species in Ice- 
landic waters disappeared through volcanic action — 

'A land, of old upheaven from the abyss 
By fire, to sink into the abyss again.' 

and that the destruction of the old Geirfuglaske'r drove some, 
at least, of the birds which frequented it to a rock nearer the 
mainland, when they were exposed to danger from which, in 
their former abode, they had been comparatively free ; yet, on 
this rock (Eldey = fire-island) they were 'specially hunted 
down ' whenever opportunity offered, until the stock there was 
wholly extirpated in 1844, and whether any remained else- 
where must be deemed most doubtful." 

The Great Auk was a gigantic flightless Razor-bill, with such 
small wings — only about the size of the ordinary Razor-bills — 
that it was unable to fly. Bullock, who saw a specimen alive, 
says that it was " wholly incapable of flight, but so expert a 
diver that every effort to shoot it was ineffectual. '^ 


A/ca impennis, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 210 (1766); Macgill. 
Brit. B. V. p. 359 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 563, 

1 12 Allen's naturalist's library. 

pi. 620 (1880); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 206 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 61 (1884); See- 
bohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 371 (1885); Saunders, Man. 
Brit. B. p. 681 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xviii. 

{Plate CV.) 

Adult in Summer Plumage. — General colour above glossy black ; 
wings like the back ; quills brownish black, the secondaries 
tipped with white, forming a white bar ; tail also black ; head 
and neck glossy black, like the back ; the throat rather more 
brownish black ; under surface white, sharply defined from the 
black of the back, ascending on to the throat and forming a 
triangular patch ; sides of body dove-grey ; a large white patch 
on each side of the head in front of the eye. Total length, 
25*0 inches; culmen, y6 ; wing, 6"o; tail, 3-8 ; tarsus, i-8. 

Winter Plumage. — As in the Razor-bill, the throat is white in 

Range in Great Britain. — The Great Auk used to breed in 
S. Kilda, but even by the middle of the last century the birds 
had become very irregular in their visits.* A male and 
female were killed at Papa Westray, one of the Orkneys, in 
181 2. The male bird of this pair is now in the British Museum. 
In August of 1 82 1 or 1822, Fleming records a specimen sent 
to him from S. Kilda, and, according to the researches of 
Mr. Henry Evans, a bird of this species was captured in the 
same group of islands about the year 1840. That the Great 
Auk formerly had a more extended range in ancient times 
has been proved by the remains which have been found in 
Caithness and Argyll, and even as far south as some old sea- 
caves in Durham (cf. Saunders, Man. p. 682). Mr. Barrett- 
Hamilton has collected the evidence of the existence of 
Plautus i?npe?i?iis in Ireland, where Mr. W. J. Knowles has 
found remains of the species on the coast of Antrim, along 
wdth those of the horse, dog, or wolf, "in conjunction with 
human remains believed to be those of the earliest Neolithic 

* For an epitome of the range and habits of the Great Auk, I am 
indebted to a pamphlet written by Mr. Thomas Parkin, and to Mr. 
Howard Saunders' " Manual." 





inhabitants of Ireland." Two other specimens were taken 
near the entrance of Waterford Harbour in May, 1834. 
Three other instances of the capture of the Great Auk have 
been recorded by Thompson, but confirmatory evidence is 

Range outside the British Islands. — Iceland seems to have 
been the last known resort of the present species, which 
appears at no time to have been an Arctic bird. Its bones 
have also been discovered in the kitchen-middens of Den- 
mark, and the remains of the species discovered on Funk 
Island, off Newfoundland, have been considerable. 

Habits.— The scanty notes on the habits of the Great Auk 
are derived from the accounts of early voyagers. Although 
incapable of flight, its diving powers are admitted to have 
been extraordinary. Like other flightless birds, it seems to 
have been stupidly tame in its disposition, and this fact alone 
accounts for its rapid extermination. The bird captured off . 
Waterford actually approached the boat for food, and was 
apparently in a starving condition. " For some days after its 
capture it ate greedily of potatoes mashed in milk. After 
keeping it for ten days, it was sold to Mr. Davis, who sent it 
to Mr. Gough, of Horetown, co. Wexford. ^ Singularly, for 
about three weeks after its transference to its new home, it 
was not known to eat anything. Mr. Gough, fearing it would 
succumb, caused potatoes and milk to be forced down its 
throat, and from that time it ate voraciously until within a day 
or two of its death. It died a little over four months after its 
capture. When in Mr. Gough's possession, its principal food 
was trout and other fresh-water fish, which it seemed to prefer . 
to fish from the sea. It swallowed the fish entire. (Parkin, ,' 
" The Great Auk or Gare-fowl," p. 6, 1894.) 

Nest. — None, the single egg being laid on a rock. 

Eggs. — One. The eggs of the Great Auk may be described 
as those of a gigantic Razor-bill, going through the same kind 
of varieties as in the latter species, but, of course, greatly 
exceeding the Razor-bill's egg in size. The number of Great 
Auk's eggs in various museums and private collections is 
seventy-one, as I am informed by Mr. Edward Bidwell, who 
has personally examined nearly all the specimens. 

'5 ... ' 

114 Allen's naturalist's library. 


Uria^ Briss. Orn. vi. p. 70 (1760). 

Type U. troile (Linn.). 

In the true Guillemots there are no sulcations on the bill 
and no wattles on the face. The bill is compressed and 
slender, sometimes rather long, its length from the gape 
equal to or exceeding that of the middle toe and claw ; the 
nasal aperture is hemmed in with close-set plumes, extending 
to the upper shelf of the nostril. 


Colymhiis troile, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 220 (1766). 

Uria /m/^, Macgill, Brit. B. V. p. 318 (1852); Saunders, ed. 
Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 69 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 683 
(1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxi. (1892). 

Aha troile. Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 567, pi. 621 (1877); 
Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 388 (1885). 

Lomvia troile, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 206 (1883). 

{Plate CVL) 

Adult Male in Summer Plumage. — General colour above smoky- 
brown, the head, neck, and throat paler and more earthy-brown, 
the rest of the upper parts being gradually darker ; wings like 
the back, the secondaries tipped with white, forming a bar ; under 
surface of body white from the lower throat downwards, the 
line of demarcation passing obliquely downwards to the sides 
of the back ; the sides of the body and flanks streaked with 
sooty-grey, the feathers being edged with this colour ; thighs 
brown ; the under wing-coverts white, the lower primary-coverts 
ashy ; quills dusky-brown below, whitish towards the base of 
the inner web; bill black ; legs and feet olive ; irides hazel. 
Total length, i7'o inches ; wing, 7-9. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage 
in having the throat white like the rest of the under surface ; 
the cheeks also white, as well as the sides of the neck from 
just behind the eye ; the lores, feathers round the eyes, and a 
broad streak along the top of the ear-coverts, black. 


Young in Winter Plumage. — Seems to resemble the adult at 
the same time of year, but the white on the fore-neck is mottled 
with blackish fringes to the feathers, those of the hinder part of 
the white band on the side of the head being also freckled with 

Nestling. — General colour above dusky chocolate-brown, the 
head and neck like the back, but covered with hair-like white 
down ; cheeks white, streaked with black ; under surface of 
body pure white, the throat slightly freckled with dusky margins 
to the feathers ; sides of body dusky-brown, the flanks with a 
white patch, and another white patch on each side of the rump. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Guillemot frequents the same 
localities as the Razor-bill, but is more plentiful than the latter 
bird. It is found breeding on all suitable cliffs throughout the 
British Islands, Flamborough Head being one of the best-known 
localities for the species. Mr. Ussher says that, in Ireland, it 
"breeds in great colonies on the sea-cliffs, usually in the 
vicinity of those of the Razor-bill, but on more open ledges 
and platforms." The same counties may be enumerated as in 
the case of the Razor-bill, with the exception of Waterford. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is found 
in great numbers in Iceland, and the Faeroes, and up to the 
Varanger Fjord in Norway, and even to Bear Island. It breeds 
on Bornholm in the Baltic, and a small colony inhabits the 
northern end of Heligoland during the summer. Colonies are 
also found on the northern and western coasts of France, and 
the most southerly breeding-place is off the coast of Portugal, 
w^here Mr. Tait has found and obtained eggs from the Berlengas 
Islands off the mouth of the Tagus. In North America it 
breeds from New England down to about 64° N. Lat., and in the 
Atlantic it is found as far south as 30° N. Lat. in winter, but 
appears seldom to enter the Mediterranean. The Guillemot of 
the Pacific coasts is supposed to be a distinct species, and is 
known as U. calif arnica^ but I cannot find sufficient evidence to 
separate this bird specifically from U. troile. At first sight the 
bill seems to be somewhat different, appearing rather stouter, 
with the angle of the genys more acute, and the flanks have the 
brown streaks more plainly indicated. Among the European 
specimens, however, in the British Museum, I find certain 

I 2 

ii6 Allen's naturalist's library. 

individuals which match the Western American ones in every 
respect, and I do not consider that the two races can be 

Habits. — Although the Guillemot returns to its breeding 
stations in vast numbers in the summer, I believe that there are 
many individuals that do not breed at all, for I have seen 
plenty of them in June at least one hundred miles from land, 
swimming about in the middle of the sea, and resting on the 
water in the laziest manner. In calm weather they even sleep 
in the middle of the summer's day, so that on more than one 
occasion the bow of the steamer was upon them ere they 
hurriedly woke up and dived to a safer distance. 

I quote Seebohm's account of the habits of the Guillemot 
on the Fames. He had in his possession some beautiful 
paintings of the bird-life on these islands, and the journals 
of his visits to this locality were always very interesting 
reading. He describes the nesting of the Guillemot as 
follows : — 

" For the greater part of the year the Guillemot's haunt is 
the open sea ; but in the breeding season it retires landwards to 
its favourite cliffs and rocky islets. A nursery of these birds 
presents one of the most interesting phases of bird-life. 
Whether it be the brave old headland cliffs of Flamborough 
Head and Bempton, the curious ' Pinnacles ' at the Fames, 
the rugged coasts of Wales, the innumerable nurseries on the 
Scottish rocks and islets, or a ' fuglevoer ' among the Norwegian 
Fjords — all possess abundant attractions for the naturalist, and 
well repay repeated visits. 

" So soon as the breeding-season has passed, even before the 
young birds have fully gained the use of their wings, the 
Guillemots forsake the cliffs and spend the rest of the year upon 
the open sea. A rocky shore is now no more attraction to them 
than a low and sandy one, and they may be frequently seen in 
the sea off such low-lying coasts as those of Lincoln and Norfolk. 
The Guillemot is to some extent a migratory bird, but is, 
perhaps, better described as a wandering one, straying hundreds, 
even thousands, of miles from its breeding-place and its true 
home. Certain it is, we know on good authority, that the birds 
are never seen on the cliffs at Flamborough or at the Fames for 
several months after the young are reared. On Heligoland the 

















birds reappear during the months of November and December, 
at least half of them being young ones ; and in some of the 
migration-reports the Guillemot is returned as appearing at its 
breeding-places suddenly, and just as suddenly leaving them 
again when the duties of the season are over. 

" The Guillemot is an expert diver, very often diving 
so suddenly as to defy the quickest shots, disappearing at 
the flash of the gun, to rise again at some distance quite 
unharmed. We have but little opportunity, if any, of observing 
the bird's aquatic gambols in its own native ocean ; but the 
Guillemots in the salt-water tanks at the Brighton Aquarium are 
a source of never-ending interest and amusement to visitors. 
Using their wings much after the manner that a fish does its 
fins, they progress through the water, darting hither and thither 
with great rapidity. In swimming, the Guillemot uses its legs 
as a motor, but in diving the wings alone are used ; the whole 
body of the bird is covered with a mass of air-bubbles, and it 
leaves a train of these bubbles behind it, glistening like silver 
and pearls, which adds much to the beauty of the performance. 
Sometimes the descent of the bird is perpendicular, sometimes 
in an oblique direction ; and its progress under the water is 
made apparently as easily as through the air, even more so, 
turning and gliding about with ever graceful movements, and 
sometimes hovering over a morsel of food like a Tern. The 
Guillemots at the Aquarium rarely stay under the surface more 
than half-a-minute ; but in the open sea I have known them to 
remain down for a much longer time. 

" The food of the Guillemot is largely composed of the fry 
of fishes, notably that of the herring ; but this fare is also 
varied by small crustaceans, marine insects, molluscs, and 
various small fish. This food is often obtained near the coasts, 
in sheltered bays and estuaries, where the birds congregate in 
large numbers ; but at night they generally go out to the open 
sea, except during the breeding season. The Guillemot is often 
caught in the herring nets, and is sometimes taken on the 
hooks baited with small fishes. It takes its prey, if it be a 
fish, crosswise, and swallows it after changing its position. The 
young birds are fed by their parents on portions of fish, and 
even when they are sufficiently matured to seek the water they 
are still tended by the old birds. 

ii8 Allen's naturalist's library. 

" As a rule the Guillemot is a remarkably silent bird ; and 
no matter how large its colony may be, but little or no noise is 
heard, save the whirr of their short wings as they leave the 
ledges, and an occasional hoarse guttural note as they struggle 
for a point of vantage on the rocks. When seriously alarmed, 
they often utter this note whilst wheeling round an intruder's 
head ; but the Guillemot rarely utters a sound, and allows its 
eggs to be taken, or its privacy disturbed, without offering any 
noisy resistance or remonstrance. 

"The breeding- season is the time when the Guillemot's habits 
are most interesting and the easiest to observe. During that 
period, which commences in May and lasts until August, the 
birds are confined to the rocky headlands and the isolated 
rocks. Among the breeding-places of the Guillemot the cliffs 
at Flamborough and Bempton probably stand unrivalled, so 
far as the British Islands are concerned ; but I know of no 
place where sea birds can be studied to greater advantage than 
at the Fames. I have visited these islands many times, and 
every time I have been more charmed than before." 

Nest. — None, the Qgg being laid upon the bare rock. 

Egg. — One only, pear-shaped. The eggs of the Guillemot 
are subject to the most extraordinary variation, exceeding, 
perhaps, that of any other species of bird. The series in the 
British Museum occupies 13 cabinet drawers. They principally 
consist of the specimens presented by the late Henry Seebohm. 
The types of coloration are so varied that a special description 
of each becomes difficult. The following varieties are perhaps 
the most prominent : — 

Ground-colour white, sometimes unspotted, the markings 
few and far between, but sometimes forming confluent blotches. 

Ground-colour greenish-blue, with all kinds of irregular spots, 
blotches, and scribblings, some of the eggs being so thickly 
mottled as to call to mind a thickly-marked Crow's egg. 

Ground-colour greenish-blue, with brown or blackish 
scribblings only, these being distributed all over the surface, or 
being congregated at the larger end of the egg. 

Ground-colour creamy-buff, thickly or sparsely spotted with 



Ground-colour greenish, thickly spotted or clouded with 
brown or chestnut. 

Ground-colour rufous-buff, with large blotches or spots of 
reddish- brown or blackish. 

Ground-colour almost uniform greenish-blue, without spots. 

Ground-colour bluish or greenish-white, with blackish spots, 
dots, or scribblings, often confluent round the larger end of the 
egg, where there is generally a large black patch, often inter- 
spersed with reddish, the grey underlying markings scarcely 
visible in this type. 

Ground-colour creamy-buff, with black or reddish-brown 
markings, taking the form of a huge blotch at the large end of 
the egg ; or with scribblings and spots universally distributed 
over the surface, the grey underlying spots being very much in 
evidence. Axis, 3"o-3'5 inches; diam. i-55-2*i. 


Uria ringvia, Lath. Gen. Syn. Suppl. i. p. 295 (1787). 
{Plafe CVIL) 

Adult in Summer Plumage. — Similar to U. troile, but distin- 
guished by the white eye-ring and the ^Yhite line which runs 
from behind the eye down the crease which skirts the hinder 
edge of the ear-coverts. Total length, 15 inches ; culmen, 1*9 ; 
wing, y6; tail, 2*0; tarsus, i'25. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Similar to the winter plumage 
of U. froik, but distinguished by the white line behind the eye, 
which is retained in the winter plumage. 

Characters. — Many ornithologists consider the Ringed Guille- 
mot to be a mere variety of the common species, but I cannot 
quite understand the reason for this conclusion. If the Ringed 
Guillemot inhabited a perfectly distinct area, I believe that no 
one would hesitate to consider it a well-marked form, but as it 
is, on the contrary, found among the colonies of the ordinary 
Guillemot of our shores, there is some hesitation in recognising 
it as a distinct species. To me the characters appear suffi- 
ciently well marked, the white ring round the eye and the white 
streak along the crease above the earcoverts distinguishing 
the Bridled Guillemot from the ordinary U. iroile, Seebohm 


writes : "So far as is known, wherever one form occurs, both 
in the Atlantic and Pacific, the otlier is found with it, the 
proportion of Ringed Guillemots varying from one in five to 
one in twelve of the Common Guillemot." He also states that 
the two forms have been seen paired together, " and the white 
line behind the eye is said to vary in length, leading to the 
supposition that intermediate forms are found." In all the 
specimens as yet examined by me, I have found no trace of 
such intermediate forms, and the inter-breeding, if such there 
be, between the Bridled and the Common Guillemot, is no 
more than one might expect to occur between two species alike 
in size and habits. Such instances are known to occur in other 
groups of birds, as is evidenced by the Crows, Dippers, and 
Wagtails. I confess, however, that I should like to have in- 
disputable evidence that the two Guillemots inter-breed. It 
seems to me that such satisfactory evidence must be very 
difficult to obtain. 

There is no recorded difference in the habits or nidification 
of the Bridled Guillemot to those of the Common Guillemot. 


Uria brunnichii, Sabine, Trans. Linn. Soc. xii. p. 538 (18 18); 
Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 314 (1852); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's 
Brit. B. iv. p. 76 (1884) ; id. Man. Brit. B. p. 685 (1889) ; 
Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxii. (1896). 

Alca brueniiicJdi^ Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 575, pi. 622 (1877). 

Lomvia briienniclii, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 207 (1883). 

Alca troile briDuiichi, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 388 (1885). 

Adult Male in Breeding Plumage. — General colour above glossy 
black ; the head like the back ; the lores, feathers above the 
eye, sides of face, throat and sides of neck rich chccolate- 
brown, contrasting with the black of the upper parts ; wings 
black, the secondaries tipped with white, forming a wing-bar ; 
the outer primaries with white bases to the shafts ; tail black ; 
under surface pure white, from the lower throat downwards, a 
sharp line of demarcation crossing to the sides of the chest, 
and forming a blunt triangle on the lower throat ; under wing- 
coverts white, those near the edge of the wing light brown ; 


lower primary-coverts and inner surface of quills ashy-brown. 
Total length, 15 inches; culmen, i-6 ; wing, 8-9; tail, i"85; 
tarsus, I '4 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Black above, white below; the 
lores and sides of the face being blackish, and not chocolate- 
brown as in the summer plumage, where they are in contrast 
to the black head ; the hinder cheeks and sides of the neck 
showing a white patch which is more or less mottled with 
black, as is also the lower throat ; the upper throat white, with 
a black spot on the chin ; the swollen base of the cutting edge 
of the mandible less distinctly marked. 

Young. — Resembles the adult in winter plumage, but is whiter 
on the throat and sides of the neck, these parts not having the 
black mottling of the adult. A young female obtained by Dr. 
Stejneger on Bering Island, on the 3rd of January, had the " bill 
dark, almost blackish, bluish-grey, with a light spot on the 
genys in front of the angle ; feet light bluish pearl-grey, with a 
faint yellowish tinge in front (not greenish, however), the joints 
darker bluish-grey, underneath blackish-grey." 

Characters. — The thick bill, with its enamelled appearance 
near the gape, distinguishes Briinnich's Guillemot from Uria 
troiledX a glance, and I am unable to comprehend Seebohm's 
conclusion that it is so little recognisable as to be merely a 
race of U. troile. In my opinion U. briceunichi is almost generi- 
cally distinct from U. troile, while its blacker coloration, with the 
contrast between the black head and the deep chocolate-brown 
on the sides of the face and neck, is most marked. It is 
thoroughly distinct from U. troile as a species. I have been 
unable to separate Uria at^ra from U. bruennichi, as is done by 
the American ornithologists, who insist on its larger size and less 
swollen tomium. Specimens from Spitsbergen and the Kuril 
Islands have the tomium equally distinct and the wing of the 
same length (8'4-8"5). A Greenland specimen has the wing 
8"8 inches. 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — Seebohm speaks of Briinnich's 
Guillemot as " a very rare straggler to the British Islands in 
autumn and winter, having been most frequently observed in 
the Orkneys and extreme north of Scotland," but, he adds, 
" there can be little doubt that it is often overlooked and con- 


fused with its smaller-billed ally." Mr. Howard Saunders, on 
the other hand, at the time of wTiting his " Manual," in 1889, 
considered that the species had been included in the British 
List on very slight evidence, and was inclined to admit only 
two occurrences as worthy of any credit at all. In 1895. how- 
ever, identified specimens were obtained from the coast of 
Yorkshire and from Cambridgeshire. 

Range outside tlie British Islands. — Briinnich's Guillemot is a 
truly Arctic species, being plentiful in Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, 
Novaya Zemlya, and Franz-Josef Land. In Greenland there are 
abundant colonies, and Colonel Feilden observed the species 
as far north as Lat. 72°. It is found also on the Pacific side of 
North America. In winter it visits the coasts of Scandinavia, 
and has been found on the eastern shores of Great Britain and 
in the North of France, while in North America it extends as 
far south as New Jersey. 

Habits. — These, as might be expected, are similar to those 
of the Common Guillemot. In some of its Arctic resorts, 
incredible numbers of the species are said to congregate in the 
North Pacific ; they are usually called Uria arra^ a form which 
I consider to be inseparable from U. bniennichi. Dr. Stejneger 
writes : " They pass the winter away from the shores of the 
islands, probably on the open sea not far from them, as is 
indicated by living individuals occasionally appearing during 
the winter, and by the dead bodies regularly cast ashore after 
each severe storm of the season. About the ist of April, or a 
little earlier, enormous flocks approach the shore and take 
possession of the rookeries. 

" When breeding, the long rows of ' Ares ' * on the narrow 
shelves of rocks, where they have deposited their many- 
coloured, large, pear-shaped eggs, face the rocky wall with 
their white breasts, turning their black backs to the spectator. 
When flying off" the nest, they consequently are compelled to 
first turn round, and, if taken by surprise, this manoeuvre will 
often cause them to throw the egg from the shelf into the 
water. It happened several times that, when I stealthily 
approached in a boat under the breeding-colonies, several eggs 
were thrown into the boat when the birds rushed off their 

* So called from their note, ar-r-r. 



nests, if the bare rock upon which the egg is placed can be 
called a nest, and my Aleutian oarsmen were always in a roar 
of laughter when one of these projectiles exploded on the head 
of an unfortunate comrade." Mr. Trevor Battye informs me 
that in Spitsbergen he saw this Guillemot swimming about 
with the young one on its back. 

Nest. — None, the single egg being laid upon the bare rock. 

Eggs. — Similar to those of the Common Guillemot, and 
subject to the same variation. Mr. H. J. Pearson visited a 
colony on Novaya Zemlya, and obtained a series of eggs in 
July, 1895. He says :—" The series shows great variety in 
colour and size. In colour they closely resemble a selected 
collection of the Common Guillemot's eggs, and pass from 
pure white to the browns of the Razor-bill, with every variety 
of yellows and blue-greens, some being very handsomely 
blotched with black." 


Cepphus^ Pallas, Spil. Zool. v. p. 2i7) (1769)- 

Type C. grylle (Linn.). 

The genus Cepphiis differs from the genus Uria in its 
shorter bill, the culmen scarcely exceeding the length of the 
inner toe and claw, in the differences of the summer and 
winter plumages, and in the significant fact that it lays a 
couple of eggs instead of one. 


Colynibiis gryile, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 220 (1766). 

Uria grylle^ Macgill. Brit. B. p. 331 (1852) ; Dresser, B. Eur. 

viii. p. 581, pi. 623 (1877); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 

207 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 81 

(1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 687 (1889); Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Brit. B. part xxiii. (1893). 
Alca grylle, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 383 (1885). 
{Plate CVIII.) 
Adult Male in Summer Plumage. — Entirely black above and 
below, including the quills and tail ; lesser wing-coverts black 


like the back ; median and greater coverts pure white, with a 
line of black along the base of the latter, this black band 
mostly concealed by the median series ; all the under wing- 
coverts and axillaries white, excepting those round the bend 
of the wing, which are blackish; bill black; feet dark crimson; 
claws black. Total length, 11-5 inches; culmen, 1*4; wing, 
6"i ; tail, 1*8; tarsus, 1-25. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 12*0 
inches; culmen, 1-3; wing, 6-3; tail, r75; tarsus, 1*2. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage 
in being white below, the flank-feathers showing black bars, 
which impart a mottled appearance to the sides of the body. 
The white plumage is assumed by a direct moult, so that in 
autumn the birds are often found curiously speckled, when the 
new white plumes are appearing in the midst of the remains of 
the black sunmier dress. The crown, neck, and upper tail- 
coverts are margined with hoary white ; bill black ; feet carmine. 

Young Birds. — Easily recognisable by the black ends to the 
wing-coverts, and after the moult this character at once distin- 
guishes the young from the fully adult birds, the pure white 
patch on the wing being a sure sign of an old bird. The 
young have the under surface of the body mottled w^ith dusky 
blackish edgings to the feathers, these being more distinct on 
the flanks. The scapulars are also edged and tipped with white, 
giving a mottled appearance, which, however, varies very much 
in extent. The feet are vermilion red in the young birds. 
It has been surmised that the old birds, having once attained 
their black plumage, never lose it in winter, but this is a 
mistake. At the same time, it is evident, as I have also been 
assured by Mr. J. G. Millais, that the white breast lasts but for 
a few weeks, and a specimen killed by Mr. Nikolai Hanson 
near Christiansund on the 19th of December has lost most of the 
whitish edgings to the feathers of the upper surface, and is 
evidently beginning to assume the full black plumage on the 

Young in First Plumage. — Dingy black above, and not showing 
any hoary margins till after the first moult. 

Nestling. — Covered with silky down of a sooty brown colour. 


Range in Great Britain. — The Black Guillemot breeds on the 
west coast of Scotland, as well as on the Hebrides and the 
Orkneys and Shetland Islands. A few pairs also nest on the 
Isle of Man. In Ireland, according to Mr. Ussher, it also 
breeds, " usually in small numbers in crevices of the cliffs of 
Donegal, Antrim, Dublin, Wicklow, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, 
Clare, Galway, and Mayo. A great many seem to breed on 
the outer side of Owey Island and Arranmore, Co. Donegal." 

Range Outside the British Islands. — The present species is found 
breeding in the Northern Atlantic, in the Baltic and White 
Seas, on the coasts of Denmark and Scandinavia, as well as in 
the Faeroes, and in Southern Greenland. In winter it has been 
found as far south as Massachusetts, and it also visits the 
shores of the German Ocean and Northern France at that 
season of the year. 

Further to the north, the place of the Black Guillemot is 
taken by an allied species, C. mandfi, which is distinguished 
by the complete, or almost complete, absence of the black base 
to the greater wing-coverts, and in winter the latter bird is 
easily recognisable by its white rump and by the greater 
amount of white on the scapulars. 

Habits. — These are well described by Seebohm : — 
" In its habits the Black Guillemot very closely resembles 
the Common Guillemot and the Razor-bill. It is a bird of the 
sea, and only visits the rocks to rear its young. At all times of 
the year it is sociable, though perhaps never seen in such vast 
assembhes as the Common Guillemot. It is more usual to see 
half-a-dozen birds swimming and feeding together, sometimes 
close in shore, in the sheltered sea-lochs, paddling amongst the 
floating seaweeds, and ever and anon diving to catch a tiny fish 
or search for crustaceans. The Black Guillemot loves a rock- 
bound coast ; the surf is never too rough or the sea too stormy 
for this bird. It is by no means shy, unless repeatedly fired 
at, and allows a boat to approach quite close ere it dives, with 
the rapidity of thought, and again appears far out of danger. 
It sryims most buoyantly, sitting high and lightly on the water, 
with head and neck extended. No bird rivals it in diving, and 
its progress under water, aided by its wings as well as its feet, 
is quite as rapid as its passage through the air. It dives with 

126 Allen's naturalists library. 

such rapidity that it is very difficult to shoot at a long range, 
as it disappears at the flash of the gun, and is safe from danger 
ere the shot strikes the water where it was sitting a moment 
before. The flight of the Black Guillemot is rapid, straight, 
often considerably prolonged, performed by incessant beatings 
of the small narrow wings, and is seldom elevated more than a 
few feet above the surface of the water. As it approaches the 
rocks the bird gradually rises in a straight line from the sea 
and alights abruptly on the cliffs. Flocks of a dozen or more 
of the birds may frequently be seen flying rapidly in strings 
over the surface of the water, bound to or from a favourite 
fishing-ground. It walks but little on the land, though capable 
of doing so rather quickly, and it sits on the rocks like a 
Guillemot, resting on the tarsus as well as on the foot. The 
Black Guillemot does not appear to wander about so much as 
the Common Guillemot, and obtains most of its food near 
home. It is abroad late in the evening, for it may often be 
seen fishing in the dusk^ and it is one of the earliest birds astir 
at dawn. Many birds pass the whole night on the sea, sleep- 
ing safely on the water, but usually they retire to the neigh- 
bouring rocks at dusk. In winter it almost exclusively lives on 
the sea, only occasionally visiting the land. 

" The food of the Black Guillemot is principally composed of 
the fry of fish, especially of the coal-fish and herring, which 
literally swarm in many Scotch waters. In search of these fry 
it explores the water quite close to the rocks, often seeming 
only very narrowly to escape being dashed on them by the 
force of the waves. It also feeds largely on crustaceans and 
very small shellfish. The note of the Black Guillemot is 
described by Capt. Feilden as a plaintive whine ; and Saxby 
describes that of the young birds as shrill but rather plaintive." 

Nest. — None, the eggs being generally placed in the crevice 
of a rock, sometimes at the base of a cliff, at other times at a 
height of several hundred feet, while occasionally the bird is 
found breeding far inland. 

Eggs. — Two in number. Ground-colour white or greenish- 
white, with black spots generally distributed over the egg, and 
with very distinct underlying spots of purplish-grey, which 
sometimes form large blotches. The black markings are often 


confluent, and form a very big patch. Varieties also occur in 
which the ground-colour is of a faint lilac, with blotches of 
brown and grey of about equal size occurring all over the egg. 
Axis, 2'i-2-55 inches; diam., i-55-i'7. 


A/k, Link. Beschr. Nat. Samml. Univ. Rostock, i. p. 17 (1806). 

Type A. alle (Linn.). 

The Little Auks are of diminutive size, with a small swollen 
bill without any sulcations or ridges ; the culmen is rounded, 
the length from the gape to the tip of the bill being less than 
the middle toe and claw, and there is no notch near the end 
of the upper mandible. The nostrils are ovate and exposed, 
the frontal plumes not impinging upon the nasal apertures. 
The line of the tomia, or cutting edge of the bill, is 


Alca alle, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 211 (1766); Seebohm, Hist. 

Brit. B. iii. p. 380(1885). 
Mergulus alle, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 340 (1852); Dresser, B. 

Eur. viii. p. 591, pi. 624 (1877); B. O. U. List Brit. B. 

p. 208 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 85 

(1884); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 689 (1889); Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Brit. B. part xxiii. (1893). 

{Plate CIX.) 

Adult. — General colour above black, varied on the scapulars 
with a few white streaks, these feathers being edged with 
white ; wings and tail black, the secondaries tipped with white ; 
sides of head and throat and fore-neck sooty black ; remain- 
der of under surface from the chest downwards pure 
white ; the flanks streaked with black, the feathers being 
internally black, externally white; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries blackish ; the greater coverts and the lower primary- 
coverts tipped with white ; quills ashy below ; bill leaden 
black ; feet and toes livid brown, the webs darker ; iris hazel 
Total length, 7-5 inches; culmen, 0*65; wing, 4-65 ; tail, i'3; 
tarsus, 07. 

I2S allkn's naturalist's library. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Differs from the summer plumage 
in wanting the black on the throat; the lores, base of chin, and 
feathers round the eye black ; the sides of the neck white, 
with an indistinct collar round the hind-neck ; the sides of the 
neck and the lower throat and fore-neck slightly mottled with 
blackish sub-terminal markings. 

Considerable variation takes place in the amount of white 
on the under wing-coverts, which seems to be present in most 
winter-plumaged specimens, but is absent in some of them, 
and it is also absent in two summer-plumaged specimens 
examined by me. In the bird described, however, it is very 
strongly marked, and the white tips extend over all the 
marginal coverts on the outside of the wing underneath. 

Range in Great Britain. — A winter visitor to our shores, some- 
times occurring in great numbers, and often driven far inland by 
stress of weather. Specimens in summer plumage have also 
been observed, but up to the present date no authentic instance 
of the breeding of the species within British waters has been 
recorded. Mr. Howard Saunders states that he saw an old 
bird with its young one near the island of Pabbay in the 
Outer Hebrides on the 5th of August, 1886 ; and an adult was 
actually obtained off Monach Island, in the same group, on 
the 24th of June, 1893. In the winter of 1894-95 a great 
visitation of the species took place, and a large number of 
specimens were captured in various parts of the British Islands. 
A paper on the occurrences in Scotland w\as published by Mr. 
W. Eagle Clarke in the " Aimals of Scottish Natural History," 
for April, 1895. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The IJttle Auk breeds in 
Greenland in great numbers up to nearly 79° N. lat., as well 
as on Spitsbergen, Novaya Zemlya, Franz-Josef Land, and 
Northern Iceland. In winter it is found in the North Sea 
and Atlantic, and has been known to extend as far south as 
the Azores and the Canaries, while on the American side it 
has been procured off the New England coast in winter. 

Habits.— Mr. Howard Saunders remarks: — "On the ap- 
proach of a vessel, this bird has a peculiar habit of splashing 
along the surface of the water — as if unable to fly — and then 
diving through the crest of an advancing wave. It swims 


rather deep, and very much 'by the stern,' as Mr. Abel 
Chapman has remarked ; so that, apart from its diminutive 
size, it is easily recognisable. The Little Auk bears a remark- 
able resemblance to the Diving Petrels {Pelecanoides) of the 
Antarctic seas. " Both the birds," says the Rev. A. E. Eaton, 
" have a hurried flight ; both of them, while flying, dive into 
the sea without any interruption in the action of their wings, 
and also emerge from beneath the surface flying, and they 
both of them swam with the tail rather deep in the water. 
But this resemblance does not extend to other particulars of 
their habits. The Rotche, when breeding, usually flies and 
fishes in small flocks of six or a dozen birds, and breeds in 
communities of considerable size, which are excessively noisy. 
Diving Petrels, on the other hand, are more domestic in 
their mode of living, fishing and flying, for the most part, in 
pairs or alone, and breeding sporadically." 

Seebohm gives the following account of the habits of the 
species : — 

" The Little Auk is almost exclusively an oceanic bird, and 
seldom approaches land except during the breeding season. It 
sleeps on the water with its head tucked under its wing, and in 
rough weather is often tossed from wave to wave without apparent 
injury. It is a very expert diver, and can fly with great rapidity, 
though it is obliged to move its short wings almost as quickly 
as a Humming-bird or a Hawk-moth. Its flight is without 
undulations, but it turns with great ease. It is one of the most 
gregarious of birds, and Arctic travellers have sometimes 
estimated the flocks to consist of millions. It does not appear 
to be very active on the land. It is said to sit on the tarsus as 
well as on the foot, but only rests on its feet when running. 
At all seasons of the year flocks of these little birds may be 
observed in the open Polar seas, diving in search of food or 
pe^-ching on the masses of ice. Unlike the Guillemot and 
Razor-bill it is a very noisy bird, and its notes are constantly 
uttered both when on the wing and when at rest, either on the 
rocks or on the ice floes, or even when sitting on its egg. Its 
specific name of alle is said to bear a slight resemblance to its 

" Soon after the young are hatched their parents convey 
them to the sea, where they may often be seen long before they 
^5 ^ 


are able to fly. The breeding places are now deserted, and the 
little birds wander about the open ocean in search of their 
favourite food. In rough weather they are said to come nearer 
to the shore, and to frequent the land-locked bays and quiet 
fjords. They seem but poorly adapted to withstand any 
violent storm, and are soon driven exhausted ashore, often for 
some considerable distance inland. The Little Auk only rears 
one nestling in the year, but it probably lays again if its first 
egg is taken. 

" The food of the Little Auk is principally composed of 
minute crustaceans, and probably small fish and marine insects. 
When engaged in rearing its young, it appears to store a great 
quantity of these small crustaceans in its mouth, visibly puffing 
out its cheeks as Swallows and other insect-feeding birds do, so 
that it may convey a large amount of food to its distant nestling 
at once." 

Nest. — None, the eggs being either placed in a cliff high above 
the water, or in a crevice or under stones, often at some dis- 
tances beneath the latter. 

Eggs. — One. Uniform greenish-white. Axis, i'g-2'1 inches; 
diam., i-3-i*35- 


Fi'atercula^ Briss. Orn. vi. p. 81 (1760). 

Type, F. aixtica (Linn.). 

The Puffins are easily distinguished from the rest of the 
Auks by their peculiar bill, which has deep grooves or sulca- 
tious, while in summer there are some wattles on the face. 
The nostrils are exposed, and are not approached by any of 
the close-set plumes of the face. In some of the Pacific 
species of Puffins {Litiida), there is a remarkable tuft of hairy 
straw coloured feathers springing from behind the eye. 


Alca ardica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 211 (1766). 
Mormon arcticus, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 365 (1852). 
Fratercula arctica, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 599, pi. 625 (1877); 
B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 208 (1883); Saunders, ed. 

PLATE ex. 


tl ^%%. 


PUFFIN. 131 

Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 691 (1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. 
B. iii. p. 364 (1885) ; Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 691 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part x. (1889). 

{Plate ex.) 

Adult Male in Summer Plumage, — General colour above black, 
including the wings and tail ; the quills ashy-brown on their 
inner webs ; head black like the back, Avith a narrow, faintly 
defined line of grey round the nape ; the lores, eye-brows, 
and sides of crown, sides of face, cheeks, chin, and upper 
throat pale grey, a little darker at the base of the lower 
mandible and on the chin, forming a kind of dusky moustachial 
band; under surface of body, from the lower throat downward, 
pure white, separated from the grey of the face and chin by a 
broad black band across the middle of the throat, joining the 
sides of the neck on either side ; under surface of the quills 
and under wing-coverts light ashy ; axillaries and adjoining 
feathers on the sides of the body blackish ; thighs ashy-brown ; 
" the bill has the terminal half of both mandibles carmine, 
followed by a narrow band of pale yellow, and the basal half 
slate-grey, followed by another pale yellow band at the base of 
the upper mandible, and a red one at the base of the lower ; 
legs and feet orange ; iris hazel ; orbits carmine ; bare horny 
skin above and below the eye slate-grey ; loose skin at the 
gape yellow" {Seehohui). Total length, 13-0 inches; culmen, 
1*8; wing, 6*3 ; tail, 175; tarsus, 0*95. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male ; but with a somewhat 
smaller bill. Total length, 12 inches ; culmen, 1*5 ; wing, 6"o; 
tail, 1*65 ; tarsus, o'g. 

Winter Plumage. — The black shade on the face is present in 
all the specimens killed in winter, so far as the British Museum 
colkction is concerned, even when the bill is developed to its 
full size. Whether this is a sign of immaturity or whether it is 
also a mark of winter plumage in the adults, I am unable to 
say for certain. By the shedding of the ornamental portions 
of the bill, the latter is very much smaller in winter than in 

Nestling. — Covered with sooty-black down, with a large patch 
of creamy-white on the belly. 

K 2 


Youn^. — Like the adults in colour, but easily distinguished by 
its small bill, and the greater amount of dusky black on the 
face, which extends over the lores and round the eye. The 
culmen is nearly straight, and the maxilla without corrugations ; 
the genys, on the other hand, is abruptly curved upwards 

towards the tip. 


Range in Great Britain. — Large colonies of Puffins are found 
breeding in various localities in the United Kingdom, par- 
ticularly on the west coast, from the Scilly Islands northwards. 
Some nest also on the south-west coast, of England, from the 
Isle of Wight to Cornwall. On the east coast of England, 
Flamborough and the Fame Islands are well-known breeding 
haunts of the Puffin. In Ireland, says Mr. Ussher, " the species 
has some vast colonies on the precipitous coasts and islands, 
and it breeds in the following counties : — Donegal, Antrim, 
Dublin, Wexford, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, and Mayo. 
Some of its largest settlements are on the Saltees, in Wexford, 
the isles of Kerry, the north coast of Mayo, and Hoon Head, 
in Donegal." 

Range outside the British Islands. — From the north of Scan- 
dinavia, the Faeroes, and Iceland, the Puffin breeds, down to 
the above-mentioned localities in Great Britain, the north 
coast of France, and the west of Portugal, where Mr. 
Saunders says that he noticed the species in large numbers 
off the Berlengas Islands, in June, 1868. In winter the 
Puffin visits the Mediterranean Sea, and in North America it 
breeds as far south as Newfoundland, and reaches the New 
England coast in winter. 

A large form, with a somewhat larger bill and a slightly 
greyer head, Fratercula glacialis, is found in Spitsbergen, 
Novaya Zemlya, and the coast of Greenland. Although the 
grey head is more constantly seen in Spitsbergen examples, it 
is also sometimes to be observed in specimens of the Common 
Puffin, and I think that this appearance may be due to 

Habits. — The Puffins feed their young almost entirely on 
small fish, and frequently go long distances to obtain a supply 
of food. Mr. Draue, of Cardiff, tells me that he once saw a 

t'tjFFIN. 133 

young Puffin with its crop distended, and he killed the bird to 
find out what the food was. The crop contained forty-one 
small fish, which have been identified as the young of the 
J^ancelet {Ammodyies lanceolatus). Mr. Drane says that he has 
seen Puffins in thousands feeding almost entirely on this fish, 
which seemed to constitute their chief food. Marine insects 
and crustaceans are also eaten. 

From its curious bill and large head the Puffin is often 
called the " Sea Parrot." It is a bird of rapid flight, and 
a most expert swimmer and diver, but is very awkward on 

For a good account of its habits, I have resorted to the 
writings of the late Dr. A. E. Brehm on the bird-rocks of 
Lapland : — 

" The farther we went, the more magnificent became the 
spectacle. The whole hill was alive. Hundreds of thousands 
of eyes looked down upon us intruders, From every hole 
and corner, from every peak and ledge, out of every cleft, 
burrow, or opening, they hurried forth, right, left, above, 
beneath ; the air, like the ground, teemed with birds. From 
the sides and from the summit of the berg thousands threw 
themselves like a continuous cataract into the sea in a throng 
so dense that they seemed to the eye to form an almost 
solid mass. Thousands came^ thousands went, thousands 
fluttered in a wondrous mazy dance ; hundreds of thousands 
flew, hundreds of thousands swam and dived, and yet other 
hundreds of thousands awaited the footsteps which should 
rouse them also. There was such a swarming, whirring, 
rustling, dancing, flying, and creeping all about us that we 
almost lost our senses ; the eye refused duty, and his wonted 
skill failed even the marksman who attempted to gain a prize 
at random among the thousands. Bewildered, hardly con- 
scious, we pushed on our way until at length we reached the 
summit. Our expectation here at last to regain quietness, 
composure, and power of observation, was not at once 
realised. Even here there was the same swarming and 
whirring as further down the slope, and the cloud of birds 
around us was so thick that we only saw the sea dimly and 
indefinitely as in twilight. But a pair of Jerfalcons, who had 
their eyrie in a neighbouring precipice, and had seen the 


unusual bustle, suddenly changed the wonderful scene. The 
Razor-bills, Guillemots, and Puffins were not afraid of us ; but 
on the appearance of their well-known and irresistible enemies 
the whole cloud threw^ themselves with one accord, as at the 
command of a magician, into the sea, and the outlook was 
clear and free. Innumerable black points, the heads of the 
birds swimming in the sea, stood out distinctly from the water, 
and broke up the blue-green colouring of the waves. Their 
number was so great that from the top of the berg, which was 
over three hundred feet high, we could not see where the 
swarm ended, could not discover where the sea was clear 
from birds. 

" The millions of which I had been told were really there. 
This picture of apparent quiet only lasted for a few moments. 
The birds soon began to fly ujnvards again, and as before 
hundreds of thousands rose simultaneously from the water to 
ascend the hill, as before a cloud formed round it, and our 
senses were again bewildered. Unable to see, and deafened by 
the indescribable noise about me, I threw myself on the ground, 
and the birds streamed by on all sides. New ones crept con- 
stantly out of their holes, while those w^e had previously 
startled now crept back again ; they settled all about me, 
looking with comical amazement at the strange form among 
them, and approaching with mincing gait so close to me that I 
attempted to seize them. The beauty and charm of life 
shewed themselves in every movement of these remarkable 
birds. With astonishment I saw^ that even the best pictures 
of them are stiff and cold, for I remarked in their quaint forms 
a mobility and liveliness with which I had not credited them. 
They did not remain still a single instant, their heads and 
necks at least were moved incessantly to all sides, and their 
contours often showed most graceful lines. It seemed as 
though the inoffensiveness w^ith which I had given myself up to 
observing them had been rewarded by unlimited conlidence on 
their part. The thousands just about me w^ere like domestic 
birds ; the millions paid me no more attention than if I had 
been one of themselves." 

Nest. — None, the egg being placed in a fissure of the cliff or 
in a burrow. 


Eg-gs. — White, with a few spots of pale brown. The spots 
are generally obscure, and frequently the underlying grey spots 
are most in evidence. Occasionally, when the spots are more 
distinct, they form zones round the large end of the egg. In 
some the underlying grey spots are very distinct and are 
scattered all over the surface. The eggs soon become stained 
to a buff, or reddish-buff, or chestnut colour. Axis, 2 '2 5-2 -5 5 
inches; diam., 1*65-1 75. 


The Petrels are distinguished from the Gulls and other sea- 
birds by their tubular nostrils, whence they are often called 
Tubinares. The palate is schizognathous, the nostrils holo- 
rhinal. The anterior toes are fully webbed, and the hind-toe 
or hallux is very small, being often entirely wanting. The 
spinal feather-tract is well-defined on the neck, and the oil- 
gland is tufted. 

The young are hatched covered with down, and are fed by 
the old birds for some time in the nest. The eggs are entirely 
white, or have a zone of reddish dots round the larger end. 
They are generally placed in holes burrowed in the ground, 
often on the lofty summits of oceanic islands, while some 
species make a nest in the open. The Petrels range in size 
from the dimensions of a large Swallow to those of an 
Albatross, which has the widest stretch of wing of any existing 
bird. (Cf. Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 341.) 

Mr. Osbert Salvin has recently published a classification and 
description of the Petrels in the 25th volume of the " Catalogue 
of Birds in the British Museum," and he arranges them in four 
families, viz. : — I. Procdlariidce, or Storm-Petrels ; II. 
PHffinidce, or Shearwaters and Fulmars \ III. Pelecanoididce^ 
or Diving-Petrels ; and IV. Dio/nedeidce, or Albatrosses. 


In this family, which contains the smallest of the Petrels, 
the nobtrils are united externally above the culinen ; the 

136 ALLExV S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

margin of the sternum is even ; pterygoid processes are absent ; 
the manubrium of the forcula is long ; the coracoids are long, 
comparatively narrow across the base, and slightly divergent ; 
The second primary is the longest. (Cf. Salvin, torn. cit. p. 342.) 


The plumage of the Petrels is somewhat close-set and a 
peculiar musky odour is perceptible in all of the species, both 
large and small. The same smell attaches to the eggs, and 
seems never to evaporate entirely. 

An. interesting note on these birds has recently been pub- 
lished by Mr. R. Drane, of Cardiff : — " I am disposed to the 
belief that the birds of this family do not enter the water as 
they are assumed, and very i^aturally assumed, to do ; for I 
have now had three species., in confinement, Leach's Storm 
Petrel, the Greater Shearwater, and the Manx Shearwater, 
and, in each case, I find that when these birds really enter the 
water, they make strenuous efforts to get out of it, and that, 
succeeding, they are so drenched as to be incapable of flight. 
This statement has been met by the suggestion that the 
unnatural conditions of confmement effect a change in the 
quality of the plumage, which might account for this satura- 
tion. Remembering this, I immersed a Shearwater in the sea 
within an hour or so of its capture, and the result was the 
same. Be the explanation what it may, this fact remains, as 
the result of repeated observation, that I cannot drench a Duck 
or a Gull by immersion, and that I cannot immerse a Petrel 
without drenching it. I have failed to tame any of these birds 
or to induce them to take food spontaneously." 

The members of this sub-family have the following charac- 
ters, which are set forth by Mr. Salvin in the work above 
referred to : — "Leg-bones shorter than the wing-bones ; tarsus 
never twice as long as the femur ; basal phalanx of the middle 
toe shorter than the next two joints ; the keel of the sternum 
entirely ossified ; tarsus covered in front wiih hexagonal scutes ; 
claws sharp and compressed ; outer toe shorter than the middle 
toe ; secondaries at least thirteen in number." 

Three genera are reprcrcntcd in the sub-family, of which 


two are British, viz., Procellaria and Oceanodroma. The third, 
Halocyptena, is only found off the west coast of North America, 
from Cahfornia to Panama, and contains but a single species, 
H. niicrosoma.' 


Procellaria, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 212 (1766). 

Type P. pelagica (Linn.). 

In this genus the tarsus is longer than the middle toe and 

claw, and the tail is rounded or nearly even, never forked. 

Only two species of Procellaria are known, P. teihys being 

confined to the seas of the western coast of South America. 


Procellaria pelagica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 212 (1766) ; B. O. U. 

List Brit. B. p. 196 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. 

B. iv. p. 42 (1884) ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 438 

(1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 727 (1889); Salvin, 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 343 (1896). 
Thalassidro ma pelagica, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 460 (1852); 

Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 491 (1874). 

{Plate CXIa.) 

Adult Male.— Sooty-black above and below, with more or 
less of a greyish shade ; rump and sides of lower back white ; 
upper tail-coverts white, tipped with black ; wing-coverts sooty 
black, the greater series narrowly but plainly edged with white ; 
quills and tail black ; under surface of body sooty brown, 
shaded with grey over the head and face, as well as on the 
throat and chest ; under tail-coverts sooty black, the lateral 
ones white with black tips ; under wing-coverts sooty black, the 
median series broadly edged with white ; bill, legs, and feet 
black ; iris hazel. Total length, 6 inches ; culmen, 0*5 ; wing, 
4-75 ] tail, 2-1 ; tarsus, 0*8. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 6 inches; 
wing, 4-8 

Nestling. — Enveloped in sooty down, the feathers as they are 
developed being exactly like those of the adults. 


Range in Great Britain, — Found on all the seas round the 
British coasts, and sometimes occurring in some numbers, 
especially in the late autumn. In M_ay the Storm Petrel 
arrives to breed, and it betakes itself to the islands off the coasts 
of Scotland and Ireland, and also does the same in a few 
localities in the west of England, such as the coasts of Wales 
and the Scilly Islands. On the eastern coast no breeding 
places are known. Mr, Ussher says that in Ireland the Storm- 
Petrel " breeds on islands off the coasts of Donegal, Antrim, 
Kerry, Galway, and Mayo. Very large colonies exist on some 
of the islands off Kerry," 

Range outside the British Islands, — -The Storm-Petrel is an 
inhabitant of the North Atlantic Ocean on both sides, visiting 
the Mediterranean, and extending its range South to West 

Habits, — Mr. W, H, Turle gives an interesting account of a 
visit to the Blasquet Islands, and tells us how, when he arrived 
in the dark, the inhabitants of the cabin lighted their only 
candle on receiving him, this candle being a "rush drawn 
through the oily body of a Stormy Petrel." Mr, Turle found 
the species breeding among the rocks, and in what had evi- 
dently been rabbit-holes. It is said to form an article of food 
on the Blasquets, and Seebohm ate some of the young 
birds during his visit to these islands in 1856. He found them 
delicious eating when cooked on toast like Snipe, and he pro- 
nounces them to have been " very rich, but not at all fishy." 

Seebohm gives a good description of the Storm-Petrel, as 
be observed it on the Blascpets : — " Our foreground for half 
a mile or so all round was a mass of rocks, here and there 
rising into a grassy knoll generally crowned with rocks. No 
tree of any description was visible ; we did not find so much 
as a shrub on the whole island, unless half-a-dozen scattered 
bramble bushes may be allowed to club together and unitedly 
attain to the dignity of shrub. The only houses on the island 
were a couple of cabins, half above and half under ground, 
without window or chimney, and with no mortar in the Vv'alls. 

"Whichever way we turned we could see nothing but rocks 
and piles of rocks, with grassy slopes between, where rabbits 
abounded and a few sheep grazed. The coast was grand 


beyond description, most of the island being at an elevation of 
three or four hundred feet above the level of the waves. 
Rocky promontories stretched far into the sea; huge 
masses of rock protruded from the ocean and rose one or two 
hundred feet high. Here the waves dashed against perpen- 
dicular cliffs, and there they foamed and fretted against craggy 
piles of rocks ; and in many places the sea had hollowed out 
caves underneath the cliffs or worn chasms in the coast, which 
extended up into the mainland like Norwegian fjords. Such 
was the home of the Stormy Petrel ; but at first we did not 
suspect the existence of these birds on the island. The natives 
(with whom we were obliged to converse through our 
" Buttons," a young Celt who accompanied us to do the dirty 
work) continually assured us that we should soon be able to 
add the dainty dish of fried " Blasquet Chickens " to our 
modest menu ; but it was not until the nth of September that 
they were able to produce these wonderful birds, which proved 
to be young Stormy Petrels, as large almost as their parents, 
with half feathers, half down. Cooked on toast like Snipe, we 
found them delicious eating, very rich, but not at all fishy. As 
soon as we discovered that we were encamped in the midst of 
a colony of these interesting birds we commenced a diligent 
search, and soon found plenty of young, besides catching a few 
old birds which were still sitting on unhatched eggs. The 
nests, which seldom consisted of more than a dozen blades of 
dead grass, were placed in holes in the rocks or the rough walls 
put up to protect the little potato patches from the sheep. We 
could often detect their presence in the evening by the faint 
cry of the young bird clamouring for food, and in places where 
the loose stones had been piled into heaps we found that the 
removal of half of them often disclosed several nests to view. 

*'Onthe 17th of September I took the boat and crossed 
over to the adjoining island of Inishnubro, and found many 
young Petrels and a few still unhatched eggs. On this island 
the nests were principally on the steep grassy slopes in old 
rabbit burrows. We never by any chance saw a Stormy Petrel 
on the wing during the day ; but when the nights became 
enlivened by moonlight we could see them flying about like 
bats, bringing food to their young. So far as we were able to 
judge, this was entirely oil. As soon as the young bird was 

I40 Allen's naturalist's librarv. 

taken in the hand it disgorged a few drops of amber-coloured 
oil, and in none did we find any solid matter in the stomach." 

Nest. — None, or consisting only of a few blades of dead grass. 
The eggs are laid in May and some are even found as late as 
September, so that the Storm-Petrel probably raises two 
broods in the year. 

Eggs. — One only."^ Dull or dirty white, without gloss, thinly 
sprinkled with minute reddish-brown specks, and not un- 
frequently with an obscure zone of specks near the larger end. 
Axis, I -05-1 '2 inch; diam., o-85-o-95. 


Oceanodroma^ Reichenb. Av. Syst. Nat. p. iv. (1852). 

Type, O. furcata (Gm.) 

In this genus the tail is always distinctly forked, and, further- 
more, the tarsus is shorter and never exceeds the length of the 
middle toe and claw. 

Twelve species of Oceanodroma are known, and the genus is 
found all over the tropics. 


Procellaria leucorrhoa^ Vieill. N. Diet. d'Hist. Nat. xxv. p. 422 

(1817) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 196 (1883). 
Thalassidroma kachi^ Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 451 (1852). 
Thalassidroma leucorrhoa, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 497 pi. 613 

Cyniochorea leucorrhoa^ Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. 

p. 392 (1884). 
Procellaria leachi, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 443 (18S5). 
Oceafiodro/iia lejicorrhoa, '^^iundiQrs, Man. Brit. B. p. 725 (1889); 

Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p 348 (1896). 

[Plate CXIb.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above sooty-black, with more 
or less of an ashy or slaty-grey shade, especially on the head ; 

* Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey speaks of the Petrel hatching her three 
white eggs ! (Cf. Tude, Ibis., 1891, p. 11.) 


tlie scapulars with whity-brown tips ; lateral feathers of rump 
and upper tail-coverts white ; lesser wing-coverts sooty-black 
like the back ; median and greater coverts smoky-brown, 
the inner greater coverts edged with whity-brown ; bastard- 
wing, primary-coverts, and quills black, the inner secondaries 
edged with whity-brown at the ends ; tail-feathers black, the 
centre ones rather browner ; crown of head like the back, 
the forehead and lores rather clearer ashy, like the cheeks 
and throat : feathers round eye, sides of face, and ear-coverts 
sooty-black, like the sides of the neck; throat rather 
lighter ashy than the remainder of the under surface of 
body, which is blackish-chocolate, somewhat lighter brown on 
the under tail-coverts, the sides of the vent being white ; 
under wing-coverts and axillaries dark chocolate-brown ; quills 
below black ; bill, legs, feet, and claws, black ; iris dark hazel. 
Total length, 8 inches; culmen, 0-65; wing, 6-o ; tail, 3*0; 
tarsus, o'9. 

Adult Female.— Similar to the male. Total length, 7-5 inches ; 
wing. 6'i5, 

Nestling, — Covered with sooty-brown down. 

Range in Great Britain. — " Leach's Petrel," as this bird is often 
called, is found on all the coasts of Great Britain in winter, and 
is often driven inland by storms. It breeds on S. Kilda, and 
the outer Hebrides. In Ireland a few were found breeding, 
according to Mr. Ussher, " on the Blasquets, off the Kerry coast, 
in 1887, t888, and 1889, but not since." 

Range outside the British Islands.— The Fork-tailed Petrel is 
found in the seas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, inhabiting 
the temperate waters of the northern hemisphere, as Mr. 
Salvin puts it. 

Habits. — Mr. C. Dixon contributed to Seebohm's ''History of 
British Birds " the following notes from S. Kilda : — " The chief 
object of my visit to Doonwas to obtain the eggs of the Fork-tailed 
Petrel, and I was successful beyond my highest expectations. 
We crossed the bay in a small boat belonging to the smack, 
dangerously overcrowded, as many St. Kildans as could 
scramble into her going with us to search for eggs and catch 
birds. Landing on this rock -bound islet was difficult work, 

i\2 Allen's naturalist's library. 

owing to the strong swell. As we approached the shore one 
of the St. Kilda men leapt out of the boat with a rope and 
assisted the rest to land. After taking off our boots we 
climbed up the cliffs, and over the grassy slopes to the summit, 
where Donald told me we should find the birds we wanted. 
The place where the Petrels breed is on that portion of the 
island nearest to St. Kilda and at the summit. We had not 
been there long before Donald, who had been searching the 
numerous holes, drew forth a struggling Petrel from its nest, 
and I was delighted to find that it was the Fork-tailed species. 
Handing me the bird, he quickly drew forth the single w^hite 
egg, and I then waited until he found another nest within a 
yard or so of the first. Inserting my arm to the full extremity 
I felt the little bird fluttering over its egg and drew it out. 
This nest also contained a single egg ; and as I was catching 
the bird it uttered a few squeaking notes ; excepting this, no 
other sound was heard during our stay. When held in the 
hand, it emits a small quantity of oil, precisely similar to that 
vomited by the Fulmar. Most of this oil comes from the 
mouth, but occasionally a little is squirted from the nostrils. 
Whilst I was packing the eggs Donald found another nest, 
which I took ; and in less than halfan-hour I had taken eleven 
nests of this rare little bird. In two of the holes we found a 
bird, but no egg; they had probaby gone into the hole to pass 
the day ; and in one hole there was an egg, but no bird. We 
never found more than one bird on the nest, and only a single 
egg is laid. Some nests are larger than others, but in one hole 
the egg was laid on the bare ground. The holes vary con- 
siderably in depth (from two to four or five feet), and are 
burrowed in a precisely similar manner to those of the Puffin. 
The holes are made in the soft peaty soil, and it is very easy to 
unearth the nest. Sometimes the hole has two entrances, and 
then it is necessary to stop one end up to prevent the bird 
from escaping. These holes, which are inhabited by Petrels, 
usually have a little dry grass at the entrance. Many nests are 
placed together, an underground colony in fact, and we found 
half a dozen nests within a radius of eight or nine yards. One 
of the birds which we caught, I let go again to w^atch its flight. 
It flew about for a few^ moments in a very erratic manner, as 
if dazed by the light, and then darted up and down, and flev/ 


round and round with rapid beats of its long wings, very much 
Hke a Swallow or a Swift. We finally lost sight of it as it flew 
behind a large stack of rock and went out to sea. This bird, 
during its sojourn in St. Kildaat any rate, is almost exclusively 
nocturnal in its habits, and keeps close to its hole during the 
day. The egg is incubated by both parents, for I took male 
and female birds from the nests ; but, as previously stated, I 
never met with two birds in the same hole. Most of the nine 
eggs I obtained were quite fresh^ but three of them were slightly 
incubated. When I dissected the Petrels we caught, I found 
the stomachs to contain an oily substance mixed with little bits 
of sorrel." 

Nest. — Of dry grass, with round stalks and dry blades, with a 
scrap or two of moss, and a few bits of lichen and roots 

Eggs. — One. Dull white, widi a zone of minute dots of 
very pale lilac round one end, in rare instances the spots 
being spread over the entire surface. Axis, 1*2-1 -35 inches; 
diam., 0-95-1-0. 


Cyjnachorea cryptoleucura^ Ridgway, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. iv. 

p. 337 (1882). 
Oceanodroma crypiolcucii7-a^ Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, 

Water-Birds, N. Amer. ii. p. 406 (1884); Salvin, Cat. B. 

Brit. Mus. , XXV. p. 350 (1896); Boyd Alexander, Bull. 

B. O. Club, V. p. xxxvii. (1896). 

l^riate CXIc.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above sooty black, the greater 
wing-coverts broWner externally, with light brown edges ; quills 
black, the inner secondaries greyer on the outer webs, which 
are narrowly edged with hoary white ; upper tail-coverts 
white, the long ones broadly tipped with black ; head and neck 
sooty-black, with a slight shade of greyish ; under surface of 
body sooty-brown, including the central long under tail- 
coverts, the lateral ones being white, with broad black tips ; 
tail-feathers black, white at the base, the white extending 
further on the outer ones ; under wing-coverts black, the 

144 ALLEN S 

median series browner ; bill and feet black. Total length, 7*2 
inches; culmen, o*6 ; wing, 5'95 ; tail, 27; tarsus, 0-9. 

Adult Female.— Similar to the male. Total length, 7 inches ; 
wing, 6-25. 

Nestling, — Covered with sooty-black down. The inner 
secondaries are narrowly but distinctly edged with white. 

Characters. — The present species has a forked tail like the 
preceding one, but it is a blacker bird, and is recognised by 
the long upper tail-coverts having a broader sooty-black tip 
than in the Fork-tailed Petrel. It differs, moreover, in having 
the base of the outside tail-feathers ivhite. 

Range in Great Britain. — A specimen of this Petrel was 
exhibited by Mr. Boyd Alexander at the meeting of the 
Bridsh Ornithologists' Club, on the 29th of April, 1896. This 
individual had been picked up dead on the beach at Little- 
stone, in Kent, on the 5th of December, 1895. 

Range outside the British Islands. — This Petrel appears to be 
by no means uncommon in Madeira and the neighbouring 
Desertas and Salvage Islands. It is also known from S. 
Helena, and occurs in the Pacific Ocean on the Hawaian 
Islands and in the Galapagos. It was first described by Mr. 
Robert Ridgway, from the Hawaian Archipelago. 

Habits. — Of this species, only described for the first time in 
1882, but little is known. It appears to be more plentifiil in 
the Atlantic than in the Pacific Islands, where it was first 
discovered. Its habits are similar to those of the other small 

Nest. — In crevices of the rocks. 

Eggs. — One only. White, with an ill-defined zone of dry 
blood-coloured spots at the larger end. 


In the preceding sub-family the claws are sharp and 
compressed ; in the Oceanitince they are very flat. According 
to Mr. Osbert Salvin, the witig-bones are shorter than the 

Wilson's petrel. 145 

leg-hones^ and the tarsus is at least twice as long as the femur ; 
the basal phalanx of the middle toe is as long as the next two 
joints, or longer than them ; the keel of the sternum has a 
large "fenestra"; the tarsi are usually covered in front with 
a single shield, or with transverse short scutes ; the outer and 
middle toes are sub-equal in length, and the secondaries are 
ten in number. (Cf. Salvin, Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 343.) 



Oceanites, Keys, und Blasius, Wirb. Eur. ii. pp. xciii. 131, 238 

Type. O. Oceanians (Kuhl). 

Two species of the genus Oceanites are known, viz., O. 
oceanictis, which inhabits the Atlantic, Indian, and Australian 
Oceans, and O. gracilis (Elliot), which is found along the 
western coast of South America. 

In Oceanites the claws are not so much flattened as in 
Pelagodroma and the other genera of the sub-family, and the 
basal phalanx of the middle toe is normal or only slightly 
flattened, less so than the remaining joints and claws, the 
latter being sharp and spatulate. The scutellas of the front 
of the tarsus are obsolete, a character distinguishing Oceanites 
from Garrodia, an allied genus with a single species, G. nereis, 
peculiar to the southern Oceans. 

L Wilson's petrel, oceanites oceanicus. 

Procellaria oceanica, Kuhl, Beitr. p. 136 (1820). 

Oceanites oceanicus^ Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 505, pi. 614 (1878) ; 

B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 197 (1883); Saunders, ed. 

Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 48 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. 

p. 729 (1889); Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 358 

Oceanites wilsofii, Bp. ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 449 


Adult Male. — Sooty black, the head and throat somewhat 
ashy, with the ear-coverts slightly blacker ; wing-coverts sooty 
15 L 

J 46 Allen's naturalist's lihrary. 

black, the greater series pale brown towards the tips ; primary- 
coverts and quills black, browner on the inner webs, the 
secondaries also externally brownish ; feathers of the lower 
rum}) black, tipped with white ; upper tail-coverts pure white ; 
tail black, the base of the feathers white, more extended on 
the outer ones ; under surface of body sooty brown, darker on 
the sides, the under tail-coverts brown with white bases ; sides 
of vent conspicuously white, some of the feathers marked with 
sooty-brown ; under wing-coverts sooty-brown, the inner ones 
slightly paler ; bill black ; feet black, wTth the webs yellow ; 
iris black. Total length, 7-0 inches; culmen, 0-55; wing, 
6t ; tail, 275 ; tarsus, i"4. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 7*2 inches ; 
wing, 6*8. 

Characters. — Wilson's Storm-Petrel may be at once distin- 
guished from the other black-plumaged white-rumped species 
by the yellow webs to the toes. 

Range in Great Britain. — Wilson's Petrel is apparently only an 
occasional visitor to our shores, occurring sometimes in con- 
siderable numbers off the south-western coasts of England. 
Thus Gould observed it off the Land's End in 1838, and stray 
individuals have since been recorded from Wiltshire, the Isle 
of Wight, Sussex, Yorkshire, Cumberland, and Lancashire. 
Up to the present time it has not been noticed from Scotland, 
and only one doubtful occurrence off the Irish coasts has been 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is 
known principally from the southern Oceans, occurring in 
Australian waters, and throughout the Antarctic seas, even to 
the ice barrier of the South Polar continent. Thence it is 
found northward in the Indian Ocean to the Mekran coast, 
also off the shores of West Africa, visiting the Mediterranean, 
and ranging to the British Islands in the Eastern Atlantic, 
and to Labrador on the western side of the last-named Ocean. 

Habits. — The Rev. A. E. Eaton thus describes his expe- 
riences in Kerguelen Island, in the South Atlantic : — " Having 
ascertained their call, w^e were able, by listening attentively, to 
detect the exact positions of several of these hidden birds, 


They were easily caught when the stones were rolled aside-; 
but they were in couples, merely preparing for laying, and 
therefore we did not find any eggs. On our way back to 
Observatory Bay, after the 'Transit,' we called at the iVmerican 
Station, and were informed by Dr. Kidder that he had observed 
this Petrel on the shore near MoUoy Point. The sea-shore 
in the neighbourhood of Observatory Bay is of a different 
character (for the most part) from that which is adjacent to the 
American Station, and, being less favourable than it, was 
seldom resorted to for nesting by the Petrels. The country 
in general about our bay afforded them unlimited accom- 
modation. For, provided that they can find a slope of 
shattered rocks with suitable chinks and crevices, or dry 
spaces under stones or large boulders sheltered from draughts, 
whether they be near the Sound or on the sides and summits 
of high hills, they readily appropriate them. 

" The egg is laid upon the bare ground within the recess 
selected by the birds, either in a chance depression formed by 
contiguous stones, or in a shallow circular hollow excavated in 
the earth by the parent. Having found numbers of their 
nesting-places, I will describe my method of searching for 
them. Whenever there was a calm night I used to walk with a 
darkened bull's-eye lantern towards some rocky hill-side, such 
as the Petrels would be likely to frequent. It was best to shut 
off the light and keep it concealed, using it only in dangerous 
places, where falls would be attended with injury and progress 
in the dark was hardly possible, lest the birds, seeing it, should 
be silenced. On arriving at the ground selected, it was pro- 
bable that the Storm - Petrels would be heard in various 
directions, some on the wing, others on their nests, sounding 
their call at intervals of from two to five minutes. Those on 
nests could be distinguished from others flying by their cries 
proceeding from fixed positions. Having settled which of 
the birds should be searched after, a cautious advance had to 
be made in her direction, two or three steps at a time, when 
she was in full cry. As soon as she ceased an abrupt halt 
was imperative, and a pause of some minutes might ensue 
before she recommenced her cry and permitted another slight 
advance to be effected. In the course of this gradual 
approach the position of the bird might be ascertained 

L 2 

148 Allen's naturalist's library. 

approximately ; but it had to be determined precisely, and to 
learn exactly where she was, the bird had to be stalked in the 
dark noiselessly. No gleam could be permitted to escape from 
the lantern. Loose stones and falls over rocks — to avoid them 
it was sometimes necessary to dispense with slippers, and feel 
one's way in stockings only, for should the Petrel be alarmed 
once with the noise or the light, she would probably remain 
silent a considerable time. Now and then it would happen 
that upon the boulder beneath which she was sitting being 
almost attained, the bird would cease calling. When this 
occurred, and many minutes elapsed without her cry being 
resumed, it was advisable to make a detour^ and approach the 
rock from the opposite side, as her silence might be attributed 
to her seeing a person advancing towards her, and she would 
probably recommence her call so soon as he was out of sight. 
If she did not, a small pebble thrown amongst the rocks would 
usually elicit some sounds from her, as she would most likely 
conclude that the noise was being made by her mate returning 
to the nest. When the stone beneath which the bird was 
domiciled was gained at last, redoubled care had to be exer- 
cised. By stooping down and listening very attentively, her 
position could be accurately ascertained. Then the lantern 
was suddenly turned upon her before she had time to creep 
out of sight, and her egg could be secured with the hand, or 
with a spoon tied on to a stick. 

" Sometimes I worked without a lantern, and marked the 
positions of the nest with piles of stones, so that they might be 
revisited by day. Several eggs were obtained in February 
from nests which had been thus marked early in the previous 
month. The first egg taken by us was found by a retriever on 
the 22nd of January, on an island in Swain's Bay. Captain 
Fairfax sent me a nestling a day or two before we sailed for 
the Cape. Two of the eggs were laid in unusual situations. 
One of them was found by a man under a Pringlea plant ; 
but this may have been an egg of Garrodia nereis. The other 
was deposited just above the tide-mark in a cavity of a rock 
rather open to the air and light. I had found the bird there 
one night, had taken her up into my hand, and had gently 
replaced her in the hollow, nearly a month before the egg was 

I \ 


Nest. — None, the eggs being laid in crevices of rocks or 
under boulders, as described above by Mr. Eaton. 

Eggs. — One. Dull-white, with a few lilac or reddish-brown 
dots, generally collected in a zone round the large end. Axis, 
i'3 inch; diam., 0*95. 


Pelagodroma^ Reichenb. Av. Syst. Nat p. iv. (1852). 

Type, P. marina (Lath.), 

The genus Pelagodroma differs from Oceanites in having the 
claws flattened and wide. The colour is of a light grey, 
instead of black, and the breast is white. Only one species, 
P. marina^ is known. 


Procellaria marina^ Lath. Ind. Orn. ii. p. 826 (1790). 
Pelagodroma marina^ Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 362 

{Plate CXId.) 

Adult. — General colour above brown, with a wash of ashy- 
grey on the mantle ; lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, 
clear grey with white bases ; wing-coverts brown, the greater- 
series ashy towards the ends; bastard-wing and primary- 
coverts blackish-brown ; quills blackish, ashy-brown on the 
inner web ; tail-feathers black, ashy at the base ; crown of head 
and nape dark slaty-grey, darkening towards the nape ; fore- 
head, lores, and eyebrow white, as also the sides of the face ; 
the feathers round the eye and below the latter slaty-black, 
extending over the ear-coverts , cheeks and under surface of 
body pure white ; sides of neck ashy-grey, extending on to the 
sides of the upper breast ; under tail-coverts ashy-grey ; under 
wing-coverts and axillaries white, the edge of the wing mottled 
with brown ; quills below dusky white towards the base of the 
inner webs ; bill and feet black ; webs of toes yellow ; iris 
dark reddish-brown. Total length, 7-5 inches; culmen, 0-65 : 
wing, 5-95 ; tail, 2-85; tarsus, 1-5. 



Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but rather larger. Total 
length, 8 inches; wing, 5-8-6-6. 

Young Birds. — Covered with a sooty-black down. The 
first feathers resemble those of the adults, but the grey feathers 
of the mantle are fringed with white, and the greater-coverts 
and secondaries are edged with white at the tips, the grey of 
the upper and under tail-coverts being barred with white. 
These markings are retained by the young bird, after it has 
become full grown and has lost the down. 

Characters. — Apart from the generic characters recorded 
above, the present species can be easily recognised by its grey 
upper surface, blackish head, white under surface, and by the 
yellow webs to the toes. 

Range in the British Islands. — This species has been known to 
occur on two occasions within our limits. One was picked up 
dead on Walney Island, Lancashire, in November, 1890; and 
a second specimen has recently been recorded from the island 
of Colonsay in the West of Scotland, by Mr. W. Eagle Clarke. 
This specimen was obtained on the ist of January, 1897, after 
a succession of south-westerly gales. 

Habits. — Mr. Ogilvie Grant, who met with this Petrel on the 
Salvage Islands, writes : — " This was certainly one of the most 
interesting species met with during our stay on Great Salvage. 
We first observed and recognised with pleasure these beautiful 
Petrels as we neared the Salvages, when numbers were seen 
flitting along close to the surface of the sea, with their long 
legs dangling beneath them and just touching the water. Now 
they would be lost sight of in the hollows between the huge 
Atlantic rollers, now reappear, closely following the undulating 
waters with their graceful easy flight. On the afternoon of our 
arrival at Great Salvage we found an egg of this bird in what 
we mistook for a rabbit-burrow, but it was unfortunately broken 
by one of the men. This, however, opened our eyes, and we 
subsequently found that large colonies of the White-breasted 
Petrel were breeding on the flat top of the island, in burrows 
dug out in the sandy ground, and partly concealed by the 


close-growing ice-plant. It was very unpleasant walking over 
these breeding-grounds, which occupied considerable areas, for 
the ground was honeycombed with burrows in every direction, 
and gave way at each step, one's boots rapidly becoming full 
of sand. By thrusting our arms into one hole after another, 
we soon procured a fine series of specimens, accompanied in 
most cases by an egg, for we had evidently hit off the breeding 
season, and most of the birds, having laid their single egg, 
were beginning to sit. Both sexes take part in incubation, for 
out of twelve birds captured on the egg three were males. 
While thus engaged we found quite a number of dead birds 
and sucked eggs, evidently the work of the mice, as their 
droppings were to be seen all about the burrows, and the 
marks of their teeth upon the empty shells were unmis- 
takable. The birds, some of which were quite freshly 
killed and almost untouched, were invariably done to death by 
being bitten at the nape of the neck, and in some cases part 
of the brain had been eaten. It seemed curious that these 
comparatively small mice should be able to kill a bird several 
times larger than themselves, and provided with a fairly strong 
hooked bill ; but no doubt the Petrels get caught in the end 
of their burrow, and, being terrified, do not even try to defend 
themselves. We obtained no young of this species, and the 
most advanced eggs were but half incubated on the 2 7th of April. 
We never heard the call of this bird ; those flying over the sea 
during the daytime were always perfectly silent so far as v.e 
heard, though they constantly passed close to our tug, and 
there was no lack of them. When caught on their eggs they 
uttered a short, grunting note, much like that given vent to by 
the domestic Pigeon under similar circumstances. Our Lan- 
zarote pilot informed us that numbers of these birds breed on 
the Little Piton, where there are neither rats nor mice to inter 
fere with them." 

Nest. — None. The egg being laid in a sandy burrow. 

Eggs. — One. White, with tiny reddish or purplish dots, 
sprinkled all over the surface, or forming a zone round the 
larger end. Axis, 1*45 inch; diam., 1*05. 



According to Mr. Osbert Salvin, this family of Petrels 
is distinguished by the following characters : — " Nostrils 
united, or nearly so, above the culmen ; margin of the 
sternum uneve.n ; distinct pterygoid processes ; manubrium of 
furcula very short ; coracoids short, wide at the base and 
divergent ; first primary the longest, or not shorter than the 

These birds are of larger size and stouter build than the 
Storm-Petrels, and are divided into two sub-families, the 
Fulmarince^ or Fulmars, and the PuffinincB, or Shearwaters. 


The Fulmars are distinguished from the Shearwaters by the 
lamellae which are more or less distinctly developed on the 
sides of the palate. Five genera are included by Mr. Salvin 
in this sub-family, the Giant Fulmar {Ossifraga) being as large 
as some of the smaller Albatroses. The Cape Pigeons 
{Daption) also belong to this group, as well as the Fulmars 
(Fulmarus), and the pretty little Blue Petrels of the Southern 
Ocean, Prion and Hal oboe na. 


Fulmarus^ Stephens in Shaw's Gen. Zool. xiii. p. 233 (1826). 

Type, F. glacial is (Linn.). 

In the Fulmars the feet and bill are very strong. The latter 
is stout, with the rami of the mandible strong and having a 
bare inter-ramal space. The nasal tube is short, but well 
developed, large and high at the base, equal to the width of 
the latericorn (cf. Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 422). The 
tail-feathers are fourteen in number. 

The three species of Fulj/iarus are found distributed over 
the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. 

l^iit "*' 


FULMAR. 153 


Procellaria glacialis, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 213 (1766). 
Fulniarus glacialis, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 429 (1852); Dresser, 

B. Eur. viii. p. 535, pi. 617 (1878) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. 

p. 199 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. i 

(1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 430 (1885); 

Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 711 (1889); Salvin, Cat. B. 

Brit. Mus. XXV. p. 425 (1896). 

{Plate CXI.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above light grey, with obsolete 
paler fringes to the feathers, the rump and upper tail-coverts 
delicate pearly-grey ; wing-coverts like the back ; bastard- 
wing, primary-coverts, and quills dusky greyish-black, the 
shafts white, as also the inner web for two- thirds of its 
breadth ; secondaries grey, like the back, the inner web white, 
except at the end ; tail-feathers pearly grey, white on the inner 
web, and at the tips ; head and neck all round, and entire 
under surface of body pure white, with a little shade of grey 
on the sides of the upper breast and on the lower flanks ; 
under wing-coverts and axillaries white, the edge of the wing 
dusky-grey. " The curved point of the bill is yellow, the 
sides buff-yellow, those of the upper mandibles being more or 
less streaked with dark brown, the sheath investing the nostrils 
almost black ; feet and legs bluish horn colour " {A. H. 
Cocks). Total length, i8'5 inches; culmen, 1*65; wing, it'o; 
tail, 4" I ; tarsus, 2 "2. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 17-5 
inches; wing, 13-0. 

The Fulmar has also a dark phase, which is of a uniform 
dusky grey colour, a little paler on the under surface of the 
body. This is chiefly found in its more northern habitat, but 
in many places both light and dark forms occur together. 

Characters. — In appearance the Fulmar is very like a grey 
Gull, but it may be distinguished by its tubular nostrils. 
There is no other British Petrel with which it can be con- 

154 Allen's naturalls'j's liijrai;v, 

Range in Great Britain. — The Fulmar breeds in some of the 
islands of the Hebrides, one notable breeding-place being 
S. Kilda. It also nests on Foula, in the Shetlands. Other- 
wise the species is a winter visitor to Britain. 

Range outside the British Islands. — 'i'he present species is 
found in the North Atlantic from IJaffin Bay and Greenland 
to Iceland, Spitsbergen, Novaya Zemlya, and Franz- Josef 
Land. In winter it comes south and occurs in America off 
the New England coast, and, according to Mr. Saunders, down 
to about Lat. 43^ in European waters. 

Habits. — Mr. A. H. Cocks has given the following account 
of the Fulmar on the west coast of Spitsbergen : — 

"At Magdalena Bay we found a 'White-Whaler' lying, 
with skins of this cetacean floating in the sea all round her, 
preparatory to being stowed away in her hold. Swarms of 
Fulmars were swimming close round the vessel's sides, 
elbowing and jostling each other, gorging on the scraps of 
blubber they oljtained from the skins, and as tame as domestic 
poultry. We found we could catch them with a hook and line, 
baiting with a small scrap of 'spek,' literally almost as fast as 
we could haul them on board. 

" On shooting some Ivory Gulls at this place, which 
dropped into the water, it was only by keeping up an unre- 
mitting cannonade of stones that I could keep the Fulmars 
off them until I could secure my specimens. They were 
common as far north as we went, and were among the few 
species of birds observed among the ice we met with about 
the latitude of Bear Island on our way south (4th of August). 
There were still a few every now and then after we were in 
sight of the Norwegian coast on the 6th, and the last I saw 
of this species was near the head of Lyngen Fjord (east of 
Tromso), on the 25th of August. To the collector, the Fulmar 
Petrel is by far the most troublesome bird I have yet made 
the acquaintance of, from its habit, when shot, of ejecting an 
oily fluid from its mouth, which stains the plumage. I selected 
my specimens, and then took the utmost care in handling 
them, but one is never safe until the skin has been actually 

FULMAR. 155 

Seebohiii has given a good account of the species, as 
follows : — 

" No bird is more thoroughly oceanic in its habits than the 
Fulmar. It lives exclusively at sea, often at great distances 
from land, and only visits some isolated ocean rock to rear 
its young. It follows in the track of the whalers, even to the 
limit of open water, to feast upon the scraps of blubber and 
the oil floating on the sea. It is an almost constant attendant 
upon the deep-sea fishing-boats, to prey upon the offal that 
is cast overboard, and is often so eager in its search for food 
as to allow itself to be caught by the hand. Large pieces of 
food are eaten whilst the bird sits lightly on the water, and 
tears them to pieces with its strong hook-shaped bill; but 
small morsels are either eaten at once or carried off to some 
distance, where they can be quietly devoured. The food of 
the Fulmar is largely composed of molluscs, cuttle-fish, and 
any garbage that it may find floating on the water, especially 
such that is of an oily nature. It also eats large quantities 
of sorrel ; and the blubber of the whale is eagerly sought 

" The Fulmar has great power of wing. It flies in a very 
similar manner to a Gull, and is generally mistaken for one 
of those birds, which it also closely resembles in the colour 
of its plumage. Parties of ten to twenty birds may often be 
seen following in the wake of the Atlantic steamers to pick 
up any food that may be thrown overboard from time to time. 
They never seem to tire, but fly backwards and forwards, 
crossing and recrossing the ship's stern, and often settling 
down one by one on the surface of the water to feed on any- 
thing eatable that they may descry floating on the waves. If 
a piece of meat be thrown to them they often seize it before 
it sinks, but instead of diving after it as a Duck or a 
Guillemot would do, they alight on the surface feet first, and 
in the most comical way let themselves sink down in the 
water with uplifted wings. They are rather stupid birds, and 
do not see half the food thrown out to them, but their power 
of continued flight is very marvellous. They follow a steamer 
going fifteen miles an hour against a head-wind of still greater 
speed with such ease that only an occasional flap of their 
wings is observable, and when the stern is reached they w^heel 

156 AT>LEN'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

gracefully round with the line of their long outstretched wings 
frequently brought for a moment at right angles to the surface 
of the water. In very wet weather they disappear ; but half 
a gale of wind does not appear to interfere with their move- 
ments in the least, except that their wings are more actively 
employed, though even then they continually skim along with 
outspread motionless wings over the surface of the waves, 
bounding over their crests, and descending into the hollows. 
It is not to be supposed that the same individuals follow the 
ship across the Atlantic. On some days the number is very 
few, on others greater, and generally at sunset every bird 

The following interesting account of the habits of the Fulmar 
on S. Kilda have been written by Mr. C. Dixon : — " Most of 
the cliffs are broken, and all are more or less studded with 
grassy slopes, on most of which sheep graze in comparative 
safety. In many places, although the cliff is very precipitous, 
it is covered with grass, sorrel, and other plants, and a loose 
rich soil. It is in such spots that the Fulmar breeds in the 
greatest numbers. I shall never forget the imposing effect of 
this noble bird- nursery. Just before I reached one of the 
shoulders of Connacher, a few Fulmars were to be seen sailing 
in graceful flight above the cliff, then dropping down again 
into space. When I reached the summit the scene was grand ; 
tens of thousands of Fulmars were flying silently about in all 
directions, but never by any chance soaring over the land ; 
they passed backwards and forwards along the face of the cliff 
and for some considerable distance out to sea, whilst the waves 
a thousand feet below were dotted thickly with floating birds. 
The silence of such an animated scene impressed me ; not a 
single Fulmar uttered a cry, but lower down the cliffs Kitti- 
wakes were noisy enough. No bird flies more gracefully than 
the Fulmar ; it seems to float in the air without any exertion, 
often passing to and fro for minutes together with no percep- 
tible movement of its wings; and I repeatedly saw a bird, 
head to wund, quite motionless for several seconds, the stiff 
breeze ruffling a few of its scapulars and neck -feathers. It is 
a remarkably tame bird, fluttering along within a few feet of 
you, its black eye glistening sharply against its snow-white 
dress. Sometimes I saw it hover like a Kestrel, or turn round 

FULMAR. 157 

completely in the air, as if on a pivot. But the Fulmars in the 
air are soon left to themselves, and all attention directed to 
those sitting quietly on their nests. In some parts of the 
cliffs, where the soil is loose and turf-grown, the ground is 
almost white with sitting Fulmars. Every available spot is a 
Fulmar nest ; and as you explore the cliffs, large numbers of 
birds fly out from all directions where they had not previously 
been noticed. The Fulmar begins to lay about the middle of 
May, and I was told that the young are able to fly in July. It 
very rarely burrows deep enough in the ground to conceal 
itself whilst incubating, and, in the majority of cases, only 
makes a hole large enough to half conceal itself, whilst in a 
great many instances it is content to lay its eggs under some 
projecting tuft, or even on the bare and exposed ledge of a 
cliff, in a similar place to that so often selected by the 
Guillemot. I imagine that the bird makes a small excavation 
wherever it can ; but there are not suitable places for all, and 
great numbers have to breed in unfavourable positions." 

Nest. — Mr. Robert Read sends me the following note : — 
" The Fulmar breeds in vast numbers in S. Kilda, where they 
usually lay their single white egg in hollows scraped out of the 
grassy turf covering the rocky terraces along the cliffs. Many, 
however, lay on the bare rocky ledges, where the egg is usually 
placed in a slight hollow or under a projecting piece of rock. 
In June, 1888, I got along one of the narrow ledges to where 
a Fulmar was sitting, and at length managed to reach it with 
my stick. The bird would not stir for some time, but at last 
it ejected a stream of oil at the stick, and then flew off, 
leaving a single egg which I found, on blowing it, to be about 
a week or ten days incubated." 

Eggs. — One. Chalky-white and rough in texture. Axis, 
2-75-3*o5 inches; diam., I-75-2T. 


Daption, Stephens in Shaw's Gen. Zool. xiii. p. 239 (1826). 

Type, D. capensis (Linn.). 

As in the true Fulmars the tail-feathers are fourteen in 
number in the genus Dapiion^ but the bill is more slender, and 

the rami of the mandible are weak, the nasal tube being 
smaller, narrower, and lower at the base, less than the width of 
the latericorn. The tarsi are more slender than in Fiihuarus. 

One species only is known, which is universally distributed 
over the southern oceans. 


Procellaria capcjisis, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 213 (1766). 

Daptio7i capensis^ More, Ibis., 1882, p. 346; B. O. U. List. 
Brit. B. p. 199 (1883); Seebohm, Brit. B. iii. p. 451 
(1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 714, note (1889); 
Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 428 (1886). 

Daption cape?ise, Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B, iv. p. 11 (1884). 

Adult Male.— General colour above slaty-black, varied with 
white ; the feathers grey at the base, but white sub-terminally, 
the feathers of the back with a triangular mark of slaty-black 
at the tip ; scapulars like the back and marked in the same 
manner ; lesser wing-coverts blackish-brown, the remainder 
brown, white at the base, and narrowly edged with white on 
the outer web, the inner greater-coverts pure white, some of 
them being brown at the end ; primary-coverts and quills 
brown, white towards the base of the inner web ; tail white, 
with a broad brown tip ; sides of face like the crown ; a small 
white spot below the eye ; upper throat brown, with concealed 
white bases to the feathers ; lower throat and sides of neck 
with brown ends to the feathers ; remainder of under surface 
of body pure white, the under tail-coverts white, with brown 
tips ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, the lower greater- 
coverts tipped with brown ; the coverts along the edge of the 
wing blackish-brown; bill blackish-brown ; feet dark brown; 
Total length, 15*5 inches; culmen, 1-35 ; wing, 10-5 ; tail, 4*0; 
tarsus, 17. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 14*5 
inches; wing, 10*2. 

Young Birds. — Are apparently less spotted with white on the 
back ; and have a more uniform brown throat, 


Characters. — Besides the generic characters given above, this 
species is unmistakable from its black and white spotted 

Range in Great Britain. — Only one specimen has been 
noted from our seas, an individual having been recorded by 
Mr. A. G. More as killed near Dublin in October, 1881. 

Range outside the British Islands. — This Petrel has been said to 
have occurred on three occasions off the coast of France. 
Otherwise it is known only as a strictly southern species, 
ranging as high as Cey'on and to ;about lat. 5° S. on the 
coast of Peru. 

Habits. —The " Cape Pigeon," as this bird is usually called, 
is a well-known inhabitant of the southern seas, where its 
habit of following ships is remarked by every ocean traveller. 
Mr. Gould, during his celebrated voyage to Australia, made 
the following notes : — " This Martin among the Petrels is 
extremely tame, passing immediately under the stern and 
settling down close to the sides of the ship if fat of any kind 
or other oily substance be thrown overboard. Swims lightly, 
but rarely exercises its natatorial powers except to procure food, 
in pursuit of which it occasionally dives for a moment or two. 
Nothing can be more graceful than its motions while on the 
wing, with the neck shortened, and the legs entirely hidden 
among the feathers of the under tail-coverts. Like the other 
Petrels, it ejects, when irritated, an oily fluid from its mouth. 
Its feeble note of ' cac, cac^ cac, cac ' is frequently uttered, 
the third, says Captain Hutton, being pronounced the quickest. 
Its weight varies from fourteen to eighteen ounces ; there is no 
difference in the weight of the sexes, neither is there any 
visible variation in their colouring, nor do they appear to be 
subject to any seasonal change." 

Nest. — Sir Joseph Hooker states that this species was found 
by him breeding in Kerguelen Land. He says : — " It nests in 
sheltered ledges of clifts about 50 or 100 feet above the level 
of the sea." 

E^gs. — Unknown, 

i6o allf.n's naturalist's library. 


These Petrels are distinguished by the absence of lamellae 
on the side of the palate, a character which is developed in 
the Fulmars. Eight genera of Shearwaters are recognised, the 
genus Puffijins being found nearly everywhere throughout the 
seas of the world, whereas the allied genera, such as Priofinus^ 
ThalasscBca^ Priocella^ and Majaqueus^ are inliabitants of the 
southern oceans. (Esirelafa and Biihveria are more widely 
distributed, and range into the temperate seas of the Northern 


Puffiftus^ Briss. Orn. vi. p. 131 (1760). 

Type, P.puffinus (Linn.). 

In these Petrels the tarsus is distinctly compressed, with its 
anterior edge sharp. The nasal tube is low, and both nostrils 
are visible from above, directed forwards and slightly upturned. 
There are twelve tail-feathers. (Cf. Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 
XXV. p. 368.) Twenty species are known, distributed over the 
seas of both hemispheres. 


Procellaria ^ravis^ O'Reilly, Voy. Greenland, p. 140, pi. 12, 

fig. I (1818). 
P iiffl mis major ^ Temm.; Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 527, pi. 616 

(1877) ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 198 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. 

Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 12 (1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. 

B. iii. p. 417 (1885); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part viii. 

(1888); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 715 (1889). 
Puffinus gravis, Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 373 (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above brown, with somewhat 
paler edges to the feathers of the back and scapulars, some of 
the latter having whitish margins ; long upper tail-coverts 
mottled with white and having broad white tips ; wing-coverts 
rather darker brown than the back, the greater series externally 
shaded with ashy-grey ; quills dusky-blackish, with white at 


the base of the inner web, increasing in extent on the second- 
aries, which are fringed with white at the ends ; tail black, 
moderately wedge-shaped ; crown of head uniform dark brown, 
scarcely forming a cap, though the hind-neck is lighter and 
shaded with grey, especially on the sides of the neck ; lores 
dark brown ; sides of face lighter and more ashy-brown ; cheeks 
and under surface of body white, the centre of the abdomen 
sooty-brown ; lower flanks and under tail-coverts also sooty- 
brown, the latter tipped with white ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries white, the latter with sub-terminal spots of brown ; 
bill dark horn-colour ; feet yellow. Total length, 19-5 inches; 
culmen, i'q; wing, 12 "6; tail, 47 ; tarsus, 2 "25. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 19 inches ; 
wing, 12-5. 

Characters. — The tail is short and rounded, scarcely to be 
called wedge-shaped. The species is distinguished from the 
other Shearwaters by its large size, the wing being 12*5 inches 
and upwards. Its brown back, with the lighter edges to the 
feathers, white breast, with the sooty-brown patch on the 
abdomen, are also distinguishing characters. 

Range in Great Britain. — A more or less frequent visitor in 
England, sometimes occurring in some numbers off the south- 
western coasts, but rarer on the east coast and off Scotland ; off 
Ireland it has been frequently met with. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Great Shearwater occurs 
on both sides of the Atlantic from the Faeroes and Greenland 
southward to the Cape of Good Hope and the Falkland 
Islands. It is replaced by an allied species, P. ktihli, in the 
Mediterranean and on the Azores and Canaries. This species 
also occurs on the shores of North America and extends south 
as far as Kerguelen Land. The Great Shearwater has also 
been found in the Baltic round Heligoland. 

Habits. — Mr. Howard Saunders writes : — "The food of this 
species consists chiefly of squid, and Mr. Gurney found the 
horny jaws of a cuttle-fish in the stomach of a bird shot near 
Flamborough ; but any animal substance is greedily swallowed, 
and the species is systematically taken with a hook to furnish 
bait for fish. When alighting it strikes the water with great 

15 M 

162 Allen's naturalists library. 

violence — in a manner quite different from that of a Gull — and 
then dives, pursuing its prey under water with great raj^idity, 
and often tearing bait from the fishermen's hooks. When 
crossing the Atlantic, I have often seen them skimming the 
surface of the water without any apparent effort, alternately 
poised on either wing, but at times they flap their pinions 

Seebohm, who also observed the species during his voyages 
to America, has left us the following account of its habits : — 
" In crossing the Atlantic in autumn the Great Shearwater is 
much more local than either the Fulmar or Wilson's Petrel. I 
have occasionally seen them approach very near the ship, but 
they never seemed to take any notice of it, nor did they follow 
the ship's wake or stoop to pick up anything that might be thrown 
out to attract them. Sometimes half-a-dozen may be seen 
together, but more often they are in pairs. Compared with the 
Fulmars they look very black, but as they turn so that the sun 
shines upon them, they look brown against the blue waves. 
Their under parts look almost white ; but as they skim up from 
the waves, the brown edges of the under wing-coverts can 
easily be seen. The white on the upper tail-coverts is con- 
spicuous during flight, and the neck is shortened so as to 
produce the appearance of a white streak behind the ear- 
coverts. It is impossible to ascertain during flight whether the 
under tail-coverts be white or not, as they are always covered 
by the outstretched feet. The Great Shearwater has even 
greater power on the wing than the Fulmar ; he flies with the 
wings more bent, and seems to follow the surface of the waves 
still closer ; he really does ' shear the water,' only now and 
then rising with a swallow- like flight above the horizon. He 
skims along the surface of the Atlantic billows with almost 
motionless wings, turning suddenly to avoid a breaker, or to 
follow some object floating on the water which has caught his 
eye, and which he sometimes snatches up without apparently 
lessening his speed. Wind or rain do not appear to incom- 
mode him in the least ; he never seems tired. He is very 
rarely seen to alight on the surface of the water ; he sometimes 
remains in sight for an hour together, but more often he 
passes on, and frequently not a Shearwater is visible during 
the whole day." 

Manx shearwater. 163 

Nest. — Nothing has been recorded of the breeding habits of 
the Great Shearwater. 

Eg-gs. — Doubtless only one. The specimen figured in See- 
bohm's " Eggs of British Birds " (pi, 20, fig. 6), is probably 
3t a p^enuine e^ff of the sneries. 

not a genuine egg of the species. 


Procellaria pufflmis^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 213 (1766). 
Puffinus angloruin, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 441 (1852) ; Dresser, 

B. Eur. viii. p. 517, pi. 615 (1876); B. O. U. List. Brit. 

B. p. 197 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. 

p. 21 (1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 420 (1885); 

Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 719 (1889); Salvin, Cat. B. 

Brit. Mus. XXV. p. 377 (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above black, shaded with grey, 
and with obsolete grey fringes to the feathers of the upper sur- 
face; wing-coverts like the back, the greater series slightly 
browner ; quills black, shaded externally with grey, and lighter 
ashy on the inner webs ; tail black ; head and neck like the 
back ; the lores and ear-coverts dusky blackish, with a little 
white below the eye ; cheeks and sides of face and under 
surface of body, pure white, with blackish spots on the cheeks 
and blackish lines on the sides of the neck ; the sides of the 
chest and sides of the upper breast dusky grey, and on the 
sides of the flanks a few blackish markings ; the lateral under 
tail-coverts blackish along the outer webs ; under wing-coverts 
white, as also the axillaries : " bill blackish horn-colour, the 
sheath of the under mandible greyish ; legs and feet flesh 
colour, the back of the tarsus, outer toe, and lower outer half 
of middle toe, black; iris dark brown" {W. R. Ogilvie- Grant). 
Total length, 14-8 inches; culmen, i'45 ; wing, 9*5; tail, 
3-15; tarsus, 1-65. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 14-0 
inches; wing, 8-8. 

Characters. — The Manx Shearwater belongs to the smaller 
members of the genus Puffinus^ with a short tail and a wing 

M 2 

164 Allen's naturalist's library. 

not exceeding 9 inches in length. The primaries are wholly 
dark underneath. The upper surface is black, the axiilaries 
white with a sub-terminal black mark, and the flanks and 
under tail-coverts are mostly white. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Manx Shearw-ater is found in 
winter on most of our coasts, but breeds only in the Orkneys 
and Shetland Islands, the Hebrides, and in certain places on 
the west coast of England and Wales, as far south as the 
Scilly Isles. In Ireland, Mr. Ussher says that the species 
breeds on the headlands and islands of Donegal, Antrim, 
Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Kerry, and Mayo, and probably in 
other counties. 

Range outside tlie British Islands. — The Manx Shearwater 
breeds in the North Atlantic Ocean, in Iceland and the 
Faeroes, extending to the coast of Norway and south to 
Madeira and the Canaries. On the American side it is also 
met wdth, and in winter extends south to the coasts of 

Habits. — Saxby has given the following account of the bird 
in his " Birds of Shetland " : — " This interesting bird, the 
* Lyrie-bird ' of Orkney, usually arrives in Shetland at the end 
of April, or in the first days of May, and seems to lose no 
time in going to earth, being almost as truly a burrowing 
animal as any mole or rabbit. The earliest intimation of its 
arrival has repeatedly been brought to me by the folks who 
have taken it from the holes. Oddly enough, the fishermen, 
who have such abundant opportunities for observation, most 
positively assert that the bird is never seen abroad in the day- 
time. That they are wTong, I for one can testify. I have seen 
it at all times of the day, though, so far as I can remember, not 
during the breeding season. Indeed, as Mr. Robert Gray well 
remarks, there are few sights more picturesque in their way than 
that of a group of Shearwaters disporting themselves in a breeze 
of wind. The name of the bird seems to be derived from its 
strange habit of suddenly sweeping down towards the surface 
of the water, and ploughing it up with its breast. The splash 
of the Shearwater is quite unlike that of the Tern, and, 
although, of course, on a smaller scale, exactly resembles that 



caused by the graze of a round shot as it ricochets upon the 

" The burrows are dug in the dry crumbhng soil of the steep 
cHffs, varying from i8 inches to 2 feet in depth, or even more, 
and are so narrow that the introduction of the hand is a 
matter of some difficulty when the hole happens to be new, 
and therefore but litde worn by the passage of the bird. A 
fresh hole is not necessarily dug every season, the old ones 
being often made to serve again. To look at, the bill would 
not seem to be very well adapted for digging ; but still it 
answers the purpose, possessing more strength than the 
observer would, at first sight, imagine. The hooked point is 
very hard and sharp, as a certain scar on one of my hands can 
testify ; and the edges of the mandible, too, are very keen, and 
have more than once drawn blood from my fingers. The sand 
is scraped out in sufficient quantity to form a considerable 
heap at the entrance, and very slight disturbance of the heap 
will cause desertion. Indeed, the Lyrie is not at all a bird 
that will bear to be much interfered with. It is almost certain 
to forsake the nest if it be taken out, even though it will 
return for the moment, creeping back into the hole after a 
Httle uncertain fluttering, seemingly quite bewildered when 
tossed up in the air. 

" In handling the Shearwater, one need be very cautious, as 
it has the habit of ejecting from the mouth a quantity of clear 
thin oil, fishy and disagreeable enough, it is true, but by no 
means the abominably offensive stuff described by authors. 
On several occasions I have found in the stomach of this bird 
the jaws of a small species of cuttle -fish, vouched for as such 
by Mr. Gwyn Jeffreys himself, together with a small quantity 
of comminuted seaweed, and some green vegetable fibre. The 
cuttle-fish jaws have been found by me also in the stomach of 
the Fulmar Petrel." 

A note by Mr. Drake, of Cardiff, is interesting, as showing 
the way in which the bird behaves when suddenly taken from 
its burrow : — " The Shearwater brought out was a beautiful 
bird, delightfully sleek and clean, with the charm and mystery 
of unfamiliar nature about it. None of the Shearwaters 
vomited the abominable oil which Petrels will sometimes emit. 
It was thrown up into the air, but bungled its restoration to 

1 66 ALLEN'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

liberty, seeming quite dazed, and was only too easily retaken. 
Again it was thrown up, and again it blundered, like an owl 
exposed to the noonday sun, only much worse. We found 
others, one of which I brought home alive; they all behaved 
in the same helpless way. We found their eggs, pure white 
and very like the Puffin's, but without its obscure maculation. 
These birds are so nocturnal in their habits that persons 
familiar with the island by daylight only might live surrounded 
by them and not suspect their presence. At night they come 
out and are active enough, It is then that their singular weird 
cry is uttered (why is the sea-bird's cry always melancholy ?). 
I heard it as I lay awake in the tent. There was no noise of 
wings, no evidence of living, when a ghostly voice said in 
plaintive key, as of one who wept, ' Cuckolds in a row,' with 
distinctest articulation ; and again, as distance softened down 
its grief, ' Cuckolds in a row,' until, still further off, was echoed 
back, as if it passed some door that closed behind, ' Cuckolds 
in a row.' " 

Nest. — Saxby writes : — " In most cases, something of a nest 
is made with pieces of dead plants or hay, but sometimes the 
bare soil is thought sufficient. It now and then happens that 
the nest is made far back in the deep crevice of a rock. Some 
have asserted that the Shearwater lays only once in the season, 
but my own observations lead me to the conclusion that a 
second laying does take place; the bird, however, not pro- 
ducing a new egg — it lays but one — immediately on being 
robbed of the first, but waiting until the regular time, some 
weeks later, when it will either use the old burrow, to w^hich 
it has returned occasionally in the interval, or will dig a new 
one. After the egg has been taken the bird will often remain 
in the nest for several days before finally resolving to quit. 
The young bird will keep on the nest until long after it is fully 
fledged, and in such circumstances becomes enormously fat, 
and is thought a dainty by the fishermen, who eat it with much 

Eggs. — One, white. Axis, 2'3-2 65 inches; diam., r55- 



Procellaria yelkouan^ Acerbi, Bibl. Ital. cxl. p. 294 (1827). 
Puffinus yelkouanus^ Salvin, Cat B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 379 

Adult Male. — Similar to P. p7/ffinns, but rather paler and 
browner above ; the flanks dusky brown, and the under tail- 
coverts usually dusky brown also. Total length, i5'o inches; 
culmen, 1*5 ; wing, 9T ; tail, 27 ; tarsus, i*8. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, i4"5 
inches ; wing, 9*0. 

Characters. — When the under tail-coverts are sooty-brown, 
this species is easily distinguished from the Manx Shear- 
water, with its white under tail-coverts. This character, how- 
ever, seems not always to be constant, so that the characters 
for the identification of P. yclkouamts appear to be the brown 
lower flanks, and, above all, the greater length of the tarsus 
(i '8 inch), and the middle toe (i"95). In the Manx Shear- 
water the tarsus measures 175 inch, and the middle toe only 
1*8 inch. 

Range in Great Britain. — Two specimens of the Shearwater 
from Devonshire are in the British Museum, one from Torbay 
and another from Plymouth. The species probably occurs 
more often than is suspected, and has been confounded with 
the ordinary P. puffinus. 

Range outside the British Islands. — This species is an inhabitant 
of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, but appears to v/ander 
north occasionally, when it visits the English coasts. 

Habits. — Doubtless similar to those of P. puffinus. 

Nest. — Doubtless in similar situations to that of the Manx 

. — One. Doubtless similar to that of P. pjffinus. 

1 68 at,len's naturalist's library, 


Procellaria obsci/ra, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 559 (1788). 

Puffijius obsairus, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p.' 198 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 27 (1884) ; Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 425 (1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. 
B. p. 721 (1889) ; Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 382 
(1896); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxii. (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above slaty-black, with con- 
cealed greyish-brown bases to the feathers ; wing-coverts like 
the back, with obsolete whitish fringes to the ends of the 
greater coverts ; quills black, ashy along their inner webs ; 
tail black; head and neck slaty black, like the back; lores 
also black ; cheeks and sides of face, as well as the entire 
under surface of the body, pure white ; upper eyelid white ; the 
ear-coverts black, varied with white edges to the feathers, so 
that these parts appear as if streaked with white ; the white 
of the neck ascending behind the ear-coverts ; the sides of 
the upper breast mottled with black; lower flanks black; 
thighs and under tail-coverts white ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries white, the lesser under wing-coverts black at the 
base, and the edge of the wing mottled with black ; bill dark 
hazel, paler on the mandible ; feet yellow, with the outside of 
the tarsus and outer toe black. Total length, 11 '2 inches; 
culmen, i"i5; wing, 6*5; tail, 2-5; tarsus, i*4. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, ii*o 
inches; wing, 6-4. 

Characters. — The so-called " 13usky " Shearwater is not at all 
dusky in plumage, not more so than the Manx Shearwater, 
and like that species, it has a white breast. It may be dis- 
tinguished by its small size (wing less than 8 inches), and by 
its pure white axillaries. 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — Two specimens of this species have 
occurred for certain within our limits. One was procured 
in May, 1853, off Valentia Harbour in co. Kerry. In April, 
1858, another example was found dead near Bungay, in 
Suffolk. The species can, therefore, only be considered a 
rare and occasional visitor to Britain. Both the above- 


mentioned specimens appear to have been driven north by 
stress of weather, the first bird having been captured on board 
a small sloop, while the Suffolk specimen appeared to have 
been injured by hitting itself against a tree. A third example 
in the British Museum is said to have been shot in Devon- 
shire. It was formerly in Mr. Gould's collection, whence it 
passed into that of Messrs. Salvin & Godman (Cf. Salvin, Cat. 
B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 384). 

Range outside the British Islands. — According to Mr. Salvin, 
the range of this species extends over the tropical and sub- 
tropical seas of the whole world. 

HaMts. — Colonel Feilden found this species breeding on 
'' Bird " Rock, off Barbados. 

Nest. — None. Laid in a hole in a rock (cf. Feilden, Ibis. 
1889, pp. 60, 503). 

Eg'gs. — White. Axis, 2*0 inches; diam., 1*4. 


Procellaria grisea, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 564 (1788). 

Puffinus griseus, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 523, pi. 616 (1877); 
B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 198 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's 
Brit. B. iv. p. 17 (1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 427 
(1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 717 (1829); Salvin, 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 386 (1896). 

Adult Male. — General colour above sooty-brown, with a slight 
greyish shade on the edges of the feathers of the back, less 
distinct on the lower back and rump, which appear darker ; 
wing-coverts rather blacker than the back, with a greyish shade 
on the greater and primary-coverts ; quills blackish, with a 
grey shade externally, the inner webs paler and more ashy ; 
tail black ; head sooty black, a little darker than the back ; 
lores and sides of face like the crown ; cheeks and under 
surface of body slaty grey, browner on the sides of body, 
abdomen and under tail-coverts; under wing-coverts white, 
with dusky shafts ; axillaries sooty-brown, like the flanks ; 
quills ashy below ; bill horn-colour ; tarsi and toes dark hazel. 
Total length, 18 inches; culmen, i-6; wing, 1 1 '5 ; tail, 3-6; 
tarsus, 2-0. 


Adult Female — Similar to tlie male. Total length, 17*5 inches; 
wing, I2-0. 

Characters. — The present species is distinguished by its 
sooty-brown colour, both above and below, the under wing- 
coverts being white with dusky shafts to the feathers. 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — An accidental visitor. " Identified 
examples have been," says Mr. Saunders, "obtained — in our 
summer and autumn — at North Berwick, in Scotland, and 
along the east coast of England, especially off Yorkshire; 
while several have been taken in the Channel as far west as 
Cornwall, though the bird is evidently less abundant there 
than its larger congener, P. gravis. In Ireland specimens 
have been secured on the coast of Kerry and in Belfast Lough, 
while others have been observed." 

Range outside the British Islands. — According to Mr. Osbert 
Salvin, the present species is generally distributed throughout 
the seas of both hemispheres, from the Faeroe Islands in the 
North Atlantic, and the Kuril Islands in the North Pacific, 
to the Straits of Magellan and the Auckland Islands. Its 
breeding places are in the south, and its northward migrations 
are performed during the southern winter, when it straggles 
into the North Atlantic Ocean. 

Habits. — Of the life of this Shearwater, but little has 
been recorded. Sir Walter BuUer, in his " Birds of New 
Zealand," writes : — 

" It is a common species in the New Zealand seas, and is 
said to be extremely abundant at Stewart's Island, and on the 
adjacent coast. It is also comparatively plentiful on the 
island of Kapiti, where it is found breeding as late as March. 
On the island of Karewa and on the Rurima Rocks, large 
numbers annually breed, sharing their burrows with the 
Tuatera Lizard, and submitting, season after season, to have 
their nests plundered by the Maoris, who systematically visit 
the breeding-grounds when the young birds are sufficiently 
plump and fat for the calabash. 

" Mr. Marchant informs me that he found this species 
breeding in burrows near the summit of the island of Kapiti 
about the end of February. The excavations were in peaty 


ground, over which a fire had passed, destroying all the 
surface vegetation. The young at this time were half-grown, 
thickly covered with light grey down, and extremely fat. On 
being held up by the feet, oily matter ran freely from their 
throats. The old birds, on being taken hold of, fought 
fiercely with their bills. These birds are at all times more 
nocturnal than diurnal, and when hovering overhead at night, 
utter a frequent call-note, like fee-tee-fee, from which the Maori 
name is derived. 

"There are several w^ell-known breeding-places on the 
south-east coast of Otago, and on Stewart's Island, from 
which large supplies of potted birds are annually drawn and 
forwarded to the northern tribes, a po/ia fiti (or cask of 
preserved Petrel) being a gift worth the acceptance of the 
highest chief." 

Nest. — According to Mr. Travers' observations in the 
Chatham Islands, this Petrel makes a burrow in peaty ground — 
running horizontally for about three or four feet and then 
turning to the right or left, while a slight nest of twigs and 
leaves at the extremity serves as a receptacle for the single egg. 
The male assists in the work of incubation, and the young 
birds, which are very fat, are esteemed a delicacy by the 
Maories, who hold them over their mouths in order to swallow 
the oily matter which is disgorged. The old birds roost on the 
shore, and are very noisy during the night. (Cf. Saunders, 
Manual, p. 18.) 

Eggs. — One, white. Dr. H. O. Forbes gives the measurements 
of a series. Axis, 27-3'2 inches; diam. i*82-2-i5. 


Q^istrelafa, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. ii. p. 188 (1855). 

Type, (E. hoesitafa (Kuhl). 

The genus CEsfrelafa comprises about thirty species, mostly 

restricted to the southern temperate and tropical oceans, 

ranging north in the Pacific to Japan, and occasionally 

wandering to the latitude of the British Islands. 

The number of tail-feathers is always twelve. The tarsi are 
not compressed as in the genus Fiiffijius, but are rounded ow 

172 Allen's naturalist's library. 

the anterior edge. The tail is moderate and rounded. The 
bill is rather short, stout, and black ; the nasal opening is 
slightly directed upwards ; the claw of the hallux small. (Cf. 
Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 368). 


Frocellaria hcEstfafa, Kuhl^ Beitr. p. 142 (1820). 

(Estrelata hcesitata^ Dresser. B. Eur. viii. p. 545, pi. 618 

(1880); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 200 (1883); Saunders, 

ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 8 (1884); id. Man. Brit. B. 

p. 713 (1889); Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 402 


Adult. — General colour above sooty-brown, with obsolete 
margins of lighter brown on the feathers of the back ; the 
lower back and rump slightly blacker, as also the wing-coverts 
and scapulars ; upper tail-coverts white ; tail slightly wedge- 
shaped, black, with a good deal of white towards the base ; 
crown of head blackish, forming a cap ; hind-neck white, with 
a few sooty-brown bars on the nape ; lores white ; feathers 
below the eye sooty-brown ; sides of face, ear-coverts, and 
under surface of body, white, with a little sooty-brown on the 
upper sides of the breast ; a few of the lower fianks tipped 
with sooty-brown ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, the 
lesser and marginal coverts blackish, forming a broad border to 
the inner aspect of the wing; lower primary-coverts white, 
tipped with black spots ; quill-lining ashy ; bill black ; tarsi 
and toes yellow, the distal portion of the latter, and the webs 
for the same distance, black. Total length, i6'o inches ; 
culmen, 17; wing, 11-3; tail, 3*8; centre feathers, 5*0; 
tarsus, I "56. 

Cliaracters. — The distinguishing characters of this species 
are given by Mr. Salvin as follows : — " The exposed portion of 
the outer primary beneath is dark, not white ; the bill is wide 
at the gape ; the under surface is white, as well as the back of 
the neck ; the crown is blackish, and the upper tail-coverts are 
white. (Cf. Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 398.) 

Range in Great Britain. — The only instance of the occurrence 
of this rare Petrel in Great Britain is that of a specimen taken 


in Norfolk in the spring of 1850. The specimen is in the 
collection of Mr. Clough Nevvcome. 

Range outside the Britisli Islands. — The habitat of the species 
is believed to be the islands of Haiti and Martinique, and 
probably Guadeloupe, in the West Indies, whence it occasion- 
ally wanders to European waters. The specimens existing in 
museums are very few. There is one in the Boulogne Museum, 
supposed to have been shot near that town many years 
ago. Another is in the Hungarian National Museum, believed 
to have been killed near Zolinki, in North Hungary. Four 
specimens are in Paris, three of which were sent by L'Herminier 
from Guadeloupe, and the Leiden Museum possesses an 
example, the history of which is unknown. A specimen was 
obtained in Eastern Florida in 1846, and another was shot on 
Long Island in July, 1850. This apparently completes the 
record of known specimens in collections, besides the single 
one from Haiti in the British Museum. 

Habits. — Nothing has been recorded of the habits of this 

Nest. — The breeding-places will probably be found to be in 
the high mountains of some of the tropical islands in the West 
Indies, where it nests, in all probability, in the same manner as 
the Blue Mountain Petrel of Jamaica, under boulders and 
rocks in the mountains. 

Eggs.— Unknown. 


Procellaria brei'ipes, Peale, U. S. Expl. Exp. viii. pp. 294, 337, 

pi 80 (1848). 
CEstrdata torqiuUa, Macgill. ; Salvin, Ibis. 1888, p. 359. 
(Estrelata brevipes, Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 40S. 

. - {Plate CXI I.) 

Adult. — General colour above slaty-grey, the scapulars, wing- 
coverts and quills browner, the greater coverts externally slaty- 
grey \ tail wedge-shaped, the feathers black, externally washed 
with slaty-grey ; crown of head sooty-black, with the lores and 


forehead ashy-white, sprinkled with blackish ; feathers below 
the eye dusky blackish ; sides of face and entire throat white, 
with a few dusky frecklings on the ear-coverts and borders of 
the white throat ; under surface of body ashy-grey, lighter on 
the lower abdomen and under tail-coverts, the long coverts being 
whitish, freckled with grey ; the chest darker and more slaty- 
grey, the sides of the breast browner ; axillaries ashy-grey ; 
under wing-coverts white, the lesser and median coverts slaty- 
black ; quill-lining ashy-grey ; bill black ; tarsi and proximal 
half of the toes (except the outer one) yellowish, the rest black; 
Total length, io"5 inches; culmen, 0*95; wing, 8'i ; tail, ;^-8 ; 
tarsus, I "I. 

The above description is taken from the British specimen, 
which belongs to the dark form of the species. Some speci- 
mens, however, are white below and have a dark grey band 
across the breast. 

Characters. — The present species belongs to the same section 
of the genus (Estr-elata as the preceding species. It has the 
dark outer primary and the wide bill of CE. hcesitata, and the 
under surface is more or less white ; the crown is slaty-black, 
and the upper tail- coverts are grey ; the under wing-coverts 
and axillaries are white, and the wing does not exceed 87 

Range in Great Britain. — A single specimen of this small 
Petrel has been procured in England. Mr. Willis Bund, 
by whom the bird in question was presented to the British 
Museum, states that it was obtained on the coast in Wales 
between Borlh and Aberystwith at the end of November or the 
beginning of December, 1889. 

Range outside the British Islands. — Until its occurrence on the 
British Coast this species was only known as an inhabitant 
of the Western Pacific Ocean. Specimens from the New 
Hebrides and the Fiji Islands are in the British Museum, and 
the original specimens of the species were obtained by Peale 
on the southern ice-barrier in lat. 68° S. 

Habits. — According to the late John Macgillivray, the 
"Katebu," as it is called in the New Hebrides, breeds on 
Aneiteum m burrows on the wooded mountain-tops in the 


interior of the island, the highest of which attain to an eleva- 
tion of 2,700 feet. 

Nest. — None. 

Eggs. — Unknown. 


Bulweria, Bp. Cat. Met. Ucc. Eur. p. 8i (1842). 

Type, B. hihveri (Jard. & Selby). 

The genus Bulweria differs from the other genera of the 
sub-family PuffinincB in its long and wedge-shaped tail ; the 
nasal tubes are fleshy at the end, the openings separate, and 
directed forwards and upwards. (Cf. Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. 
Mus. XXV. p. 368). 

I. bulwer's petrel, bulweria bulweri. 

Procellaria bulweri^ Jard. »& Selby, 111. Orn. ii. pi. 65 (1830); 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part vii. (1888). 
Thalassidroma buhveri^ Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 449 (1852). 
Bulweria columbina (Webb & Berth.), Dresser, B. Eur. viii. 

p. 551, pi. 614 (1878); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 200 

(1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 34 (1884); 

id. Man. Brit. B. p. 723 (1889). 
Bulweria bulweri, Bp. ; Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxv. p. 420 


Adult Male. — General colour above sooty-black, with a 
greyish shade over the head and back, the scapulars, wdng- 
coverts and inner secondaries with obsolete brownish margins ; 
greater coverts distinctly ashy-grey externally ; quills and tail- 
feathers black ; under surface of body sooty-black, with an 
ashy shade ; the chin, upper throat, and fore-part of cheeks clear 
slaty-grey ; under wing-coverts sooty-black, like the breast, the 
greater coverts and quill-lining more ashy ; bill black ; the 
tarsi and base of toes greyish-pink, black for the terminal half 
of both toes and webs; iris deep brown. Total length, 
io'9 inches; culmen, 0*85 ; wing, 8'o; tail, 4*35 ; tarsus, 1*05. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 107 
inches; wing, 7-8. 

J76 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Range in Great Britain. — A single specimen of Bulwer's Petrej 
is in the Museum at York. It was picked up dead on the 
banks of the Ure, near Tanfield, in Yorkshire, on the 8th of 
May, 1837. 

Range outside the British Islands.— The present species in- 
habits the temperate seas of the North AtLantic and North 
Pacific oceans. It is plentiful off Madeira, the Canaries, and 
the Salvages, but occurs again in the Sandwich Islands, in the 
Pacific, and ranges as far north as the islands of the Japanese 

Habits. — Mr. Ogilvie-Grant thus describes the species in the 
Salvage Islands : — " The brownish-black Bulwer's Petrel was 
met with on Great Salvage. It is a common bird in the 
Madeira and Canary seas. We were too early for its eggs, but 
obtained four taken at the Lime Island, Porto Santo, and the 
Desertas, in the month of June. Our men used to catch 
numbers of this Petrel every night, and it was nothing for 
Manuel or Francisco to produce half a dozen each out of their 
shirts ; but, with the exception of a few which we kept as 
specimens, the majority were allowed to escape. The call of 
this bird is very fine, and was frequently heard at night, a 
pleasant contrast to the harsh voices of the Great Shearwaters ; 
it consists of four higher notes, and a lower, more prolonged 
note ; the whole repeated several (usually three) times, and 
uttered in a loud cheerful strain." 

Mr. F. D. Godman, who visited the Desertas in 1871, 
writes : — " It is curious to watch these birds crawling along 
the ground. They cannot fly unless they get to the edge of a 
rock ; they waddle along on their feet, and, when they come 
to a steep place, they use the sharp-pointed hook of their beaks 
to draw themselves up with. They seem to dislike the light, 
and hide themselves under a rock, or crawl into a hole as soon 
as possible. I never saw one of this species flying about in 
the daytime, though some of the smaller ones are common 

Nest. — None. Mr. Godman found the birds sitting on their 
eggs, which were in holes or under rocks, and usually about as 
far in as he could reach with his arm. He says that these 
Petrels build no nest, but lay their eggs on the bare rock. 


-One. Bure white, and nearly pyriform in shape. 
Axis, i'59-i-8i inch; diani., i-i2-i*28 inch {Ogilvie Grant). 


The skeleton of the Divers shows a very well-marked and 
curious character in the extension of the cnemial process of the 
tibia. The posterior process of the ilium is also approximated 
to such an extent that the sacrum is almost entirely concealed. 
There are no anchylosed vertebrae in front of the anchylosed 
sacral vertebrae, and the median xiphoid process of the sternum 
projects behind the lateral processes. The number of cervical 
vertebrae is fourteen or fifteen. 

The palate is schizognathous, and there is no defined spinal 
feather-tract on the neck. Both the ambiens and feraoro- 
caudal muscles are present. 

Besides these anatomical characters, the Divers are easily 
recognised by their long pointed bills and webbed feet, the 
hind-toe being on the same level as the other toes. The 
tarsus is compressed, and the feet have a curious backward 
position, so that it is impossible for the birds ever to stand 
upright on them. Considerable discussion has recently taken 
place on this subject both in England and America, but the 
entire concensus of opinion among field ornithologists of the 
present day appears to be that the Divers never attempt to 
walk, and that the most they can do on land is to shufiie to and 
from their nests with a seal like motion of their bodies. I have 
been permitted by Mr. Abel Chapman to use the notes on the 
subject which he forwarded to our mutual friend Mr. Howard 

He writes: — "Loons and Grebes never sit upright on land. 
First, because they never go on to land, properly so called ; 
and secondly, because they cannot sit upright if they tried ever 
so. Their legs will not bend that way. CuUingford* tells me 
that he always has to break the bones of the birds' feet when 
people insist on having their specimens mounted in an upright 
position." After some criticism of the figures in Yarrell's 
"British Birds," and those in other works on natural history, 

* The well-known taxidermist of Durham. 
15 N 

lyS allkn's naturalist's licrary- 

Mr. Chapman proceeds : — " I do not believe that Divers or 
Grebes ever go ashore at any time of the year. Some of them 
' scuffle ' on their breasts for a few yards to their nests, which 
are never many feet from the water, not further than to avoid 
a bit of flood, and are generally at^ or /;z, it ; but this is just a 
'Seal'-like progression, all legs and wings going, when the bird 
is alarmed at the nest ; and the track to and fro is plainly 
visible. Beyond thus merely landing on some flat lake-shore 
or low islet, I never in my life saw either Grebe or Diver 
ashore, and never upright, or otherwise than absolutely hori- 
zontal. True, in the water, vvhen swimming, they do sit upright 
to flap or ' yowl,' but never on land, because they cannot. 

" They never go ashore to preen or dry themselves, in the 
warm sun, on sand-banks ; they do all that afloat, and their 
whole lives are spent afloat, though I have once or twice seen 
Red-throated Divers alongside the edge of a sandbank — but 
still quite afloat, and, of course, horizontal. They never let 
the tide ebb away and leave them dry, as Swans, Geese, and 
Game-Ducks always do, and even Diving-Ducks, as Scaup and 
Golden-eye, occasionally, but very rarely, do." 


Colymlms^ Linn. Syst. Nat. p. 220 (1766). 
Type, probably C. glacialis (Linn.). 
The characters of the genus are those of the Order Colyvibi- 
formes^ and of the single Family ColyiiihidiC. 

The Divers are all birds of the Northern Palosartic and 
Nearctic Regions, coming a little to the southward in winter. 
Their general habits have been sketched in Mr. Abel Chap- 
man's note given above. 


Colymhiis glacialis^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 221 (1766); Macgill. 
Brit. B. V. p. 283 (1852) ; Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 609, 
pi. 626 (1880); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 201 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 96 (1884) ; Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. iii p. 402 (1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 
p. 693 (1889); Lilford, Col Fig. Brit. B. part xxv. (1893). 



Adult Male. — General colour above glossy black, spotted 
with white, the feathers being square at the tip, and orna- 
mented with twin sub-terminal spots of white, larger and 
more conspicuous on the scapulars ; wing-coverts like the 
back, but more feebly spotted with white, the spots being 
rounder and sometimes two in number near the end of the 
outer web ; lower back and rump more distinctly greenish- 
black, minutely spotted with white; bastard-wing, primary- 
coverts and quills black, browner on the inner webs; upper 
tail -coverts and tail-feathers black; head black, with a 
purplish shade on the crown, changing to dull green on 
the sides of the head and neck ; the sides of the hind-neck 
more distincdy purplish-blue ; sides of face and throat black, 
with a purple gloss on the chin, and the throat itself decidedly 
more green till it reaches an abrupt line, where it changes to a 
beautiful purple like the sides of the neck; across the middle 
of the throat a band of white feathers striped with black ; a 
similar, but larger, band on each side of the neck ; remainder 
of under surface, from the fore-neck downwards, white, the 
sides of the fore-neck and chest streaked with black, the sides 
of body and flanks black, with small white spots ; across the 
line of the vent a narrow band of black ; under tail-coverts 
black tipped with white spots ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries white, the latter narrowly streaked with black ; the 
lower primary-coverts produced for half the length of the 
wings, white, broadly streaked with ashy-brown down the 
middle ; quill-lining ashy-grey ; bill black ; legs and feet 
greenish-black; iris crimson. Total length, 28*0 inches; 
culmen, 3*2; wing, 14*0; tail, 2*5; tarsus, 3.35. 

Winter Plumage. — Brown above, with a slight greenish gloss, 
the feathers sub-terminally dark in the centre and margined 
with ashy-grey, less distinctly on the lower back and rump, 
which are consequently more uniform ; wing-coverts like the 
back, as also the inner secondaries ; quills and tail blackish- 
brown ; head and neck brown with a slight greenish gloss ; the 
lores and sides of face brown ; cheeks and under surface of 
body white, shaded with brown on the lower throat ; sides of 
the neck brown with white edges to the feathers, producing a 
streaked appearance, the centre of the feathers darker brown ; 

N 2 

i8o Allen's naturalist's library. 

sides of the body brown, the feathers margined with ashy-grey 
like the back. 

Young-. — Similar to the winter plumage of the adult, but 
freckled with brown fringes to the feathers of the sides of the 
face, throat, and fore-neck. Immature birds can be easily 
distinguished by the more rounded shape to the feathers of 
the back. 

Nestling-.— Entire upper surface sooty-brown, a little lighter 
on the throat and chest ; the under surface of the body white, 
with the sides brown like the back. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Great Northern Diver is prin- 
cipally known as a winter visitor to the British Islands, when it 
occurs on most of the coasts, and occasionally on inland 
waters. It apparently breeds in the Shetlands, as the late Dr. 
Saxby noticed the species on a loch in Yell in June, and 
obtained eggs from there, which could only have been those 
of C. glaciaiis.' Mr. Howard Saunders saw an adult bird on 
the 19th of July, 1879, ^y^^Z P^^^ ^^^ t>oat in Sulemvoe, and 
he adds : — "A few hours before leaving Lerwick I was assured 
on good authority that a very young specimen had just been 
brought in alive by the Earl of Zetland^ a small steamer which 
then served the northern islands." 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species breeds 
in Iceland and in Southern Greenland, and across the whole 
of North America in the fur countries, as far south as the State 
of Maine. In Northern Russia and Siberia its place is taken 
apparently by C. adamsi Like other Divers it comes south 
in winter, and at that time of year it is sometimes found on 
inland waters. 

Habits. — The late Dr. Saxby, in his " Birds of Shetland," 
gives the following account of the species : — " Owing to the 
extreme watchfulness of this bird, and to its wonderful powers 
of diving, specimens are by no means easily obtained by a 
person who has not had considerable experience of its habits. 
The most favourable chance is when it is feeding under rocks 
which are sufficiently irregular to afford concealment to the 
shooter, who, it may be remarked, should in calm weather 
proceed very cautiously, or the bird will perceive him from an 


almost incredible depth, and, instead of rising near the antici- 
pated spot, appear quietly swimming away far out of shot 
seaward. In smooth water, a boat and its moving shadow can 
be seen from beneath the surface of the water for a consider- 
able distance, and hence the bird is most frequently dodged 
and shot during a breeze. The instant it perceives itself 
threatened with danger, it either sinks the body low in the 
water or entirely disappears, seldom emerging jjefore it has 
traversed a distance of a hundred yards, or perhaps even five 
times that space, according to its idea of the extent of the 
danger. When once it has become thoroughly alarmed, 
further pursuit is generally hopeless, unless it happens to cross 
the track of the boat, as it will do occasionally, instead of 
proceeding in a line directly from it. When the bird chooses 
any other course than its favourite one, directly to the wind- 
ward, a boat under sail in a stiff breeze will sometimes overtake 
it, but such a chance is rarely met with. Before its habits 
were so well known to me as they are now, I used to pursue 
it in a four-oared boat, but ahvays unsuccessfully ; lately, how- 
ever, I have been able to get within range with a single pair 
of oars, but with a boat more manageable than those of the 
ordinary kind. As the boat approaches at first, the Diver 
sinks the body very low— so low, indeed, that the water covers 
the hollow of the neck ; and the chances are that, when fired 
at, it will escape by diving, unless the favourable moment be 
selected when the bird submerges the head, or turns it aside, 
or rises to flap its wings. I have once seen it take wing imme- 
diately on being shot at, and on many occasions after emerging 
from a dive taken to avoid a shot. At any time it rises with 
great difficulty, and in calm weather especially is very awkward, 
splashing along the surface with wings and feet for a hundred 
yards or more, the attempt, as often as not, resulting in a 
return to its more natural element. The mode in which this 
bird dives cannot be easily explained in words. I have 
watched it most carefully, but always wnth an unsatisfactory 
result; it merely gives a slight staii, if my meaning may be 
so expressed, and disappears in an instant. When wounded 
in such a manner as to be disabled from diving, it is a very 
awkward bird to handie. It will allow a boat to run close up 
without displaying any sign of activity ; but the moment a 


hand appears in reach, there is a sudden splash with wings 
and feet, and such a thrust is dehvered with the sharp bill 
that, if it take effect, it will probably interfere with the captor's 
shooting for some days afterwards. 

" Its usual note bears considerable resemblance to the 
barking of a small dog ; but upon a calm summer's evening 
I have heard it utter a long-drawn plaintive cry so strangely 
unlike any other known to me that I cannot even attempt to 
describe it. Upon the long-disputed subject of the capability 
of the Divers to sit erect, most observers confidently assert 
that they have seen it in that attitude. My own repeated 
disappointments have convinced me at least that a Cormorant 
having the under parts white has invariably been the cause of 
such impression." 

Nest.— A rude affair of dead grass and water-plants, placed 
at a short distance from the water, and approached by a path 
worn by the passage of the birds to and fro. 

Eggs. — Two in number. Ground colour olive-brown or choco- 
late-brown, with black spots varying in size, and occasionally 
collecting round the larger end, the underlying spots indistinct 
and dark grey. Axis, 3'4-3"85 inches; diam., 2'i-2'3. 


Colymbus adaj/isi, Gray, P. Z. S. 1859, p. 167; B. O- U. List 
Brit. B. p. 201 (1883) ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 405 
(1885); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 695 (1889). 

[Plate CXI 11.) 

Adult Male. — Similar to C. gladalis, but distinguished by the 
yellow or whitish bill and by the more distinct purple shade 
on the throat. The white streaks composing the transverse 
band on the throat are much broader and are not more than 
eight in number, whereas in C. glacialis there are more than 
twelve; the band on the lower neck is wider than that of 
C. glacialis, and consists of less than ten streaks of white, 
while in C. glacialis there are twenty of these white streaks. 
The lower back and rump are uniform, not spotted with white 
as in C. glacialis ; bill whitish, a little dusky at the base. 


Total length, 29 inches ; culmen, 37 ; wing, 15*2 ; tail, 2-95 ; 
tarsus, 3-3. 

Winter Plumage. — Similar tc that of C. glacialis^ but dis- 
tinguished by the ivory white bill. Upper surface brown, the 
feathers darker brown before the edges, which are light ashy- 
grey and very broad ; lower back and rump uniform brown ; 
wing-coverts like the back, but not quite so distinctly mar- 
gined ; quills and tail-feathers dark brown, the latter edged 
with ashy-grey like the upper tail-coverts ; inner secondaries 
edged with ashy-grey like the scapulars ; crown of head and 
neck dark ashy-brown ; lores and sides of face white, like the 
under surface of the body, the sides of which are brown with 
ashy-whitish margins to the feathers. 

Characters. — Professor Collett has given an excellent account 
of the sequence of plumage in the White-billed Diver, in the 
"Ibis " for 1894 (pp. 269-283, pi. viii.). This paper is especially 
to be commended to the notice of those ornithologists who 
imagine that there are few facts remaining to be discovered in 
the economy of European birds. It is a matter of regret to me 
that space prevents my reproducing his remarks in exte?iso. 

Professor Collett point out that the young birds of the year 
have rounded or almost pointed feathers, instead of the square- 
tipped plumes of the old birds. In the following year the grey 
plumage is retained, and the worn winter feathering is still 
found in the ensuing June. After the next autumn moult the 
back is still grey, but the feathers are more square-cut, showing 
an approach to the adult form. The bill is white, like that of 
the old birds. When the birds are two years old the adult 
plumage is assumed, but it seems probable that, as is the case 
with C. glacialis, the birds do not breed in their first nuptial 
dress. Professor Collett has found that, in addition to fresh- 
moulted feathers, some of the adult plumes are donned by a 
recoloration of the actual feather. For further details of the 
characters of C. adanisi the reader is referred to the paper 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — That C. adanisi occurs more fre- 
quently off the British coasts than is usually supposed, is very 
probable, and now that attention has been called to the species, 
it will doubtless be found that many examples exist in collec- 

1S4 Allen's naturalist's library. 

tions which have hitherto been supposed to be Great Northern 
Divers. The specimens actually recognised as British are, as 
yet, few, one from Pakenham, in Norfolk, being in Mr. 
Gurneys collection; another from Suffolk recorded by the late 
])r. Babington ; while a third is in the Newcastle Museum, from 
the coast of Northumberland. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The White-billed Diver is 
believed to inhabit the whole of Arctic Russia and Siberia to the 
islands of Bering Sea and Alaska, down to Japan in winter ; 
and Mr. Saunders believes that it is this species, and not 
C. giacialis, which is found in Jan Mayen Island, Spitsbergen, 
and Novaya Zemlya. The si)ecies was found by Norden- 
skjold, during the " Vega " expedition, breeding on Tschuktschi- 
kind, and Professor Collett believes that it visits the coasts 
of the North Sea in winter, coming from Siberia; he has 
examined several specimens from Norway. It also appears, 
like C. glacialis and other Divers, to visit inland waters, as 
Ritter Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen records it from Hungary. In 
North America it is found in the Arctic Regions to the west 
of Hudson's Bay, going south in winter, and occurring on the 
Great Lakes. 

Habits. — These are supposed to be similar to those of 
C. glacialis, but little has been recorded on the subject. 
Professor Collett says that some of the Norwegian specimens 
were caught in nets in which they had been entangled when 
diving. The largest male in the University Museum at 
Christiania, from the Porsanger Fjord, was taken on a hook 
which was laid at a depth of about fifteen fathoms. In the 
specimens dissected by him, the stomach was filled with remains 
of fishes, and had a quantity of gravel in it. One contained 
an example of a full grown female, filled with roe, of Coitus 
scorpius. Dr. Stejneger, who found the species a rare winter 
visitant in the Commander Islands, obtained a specimen 
in a rather curious manner. He says : — " It w^as found sitting 
on the smooth ice of Lake Saranna (25th of November, 1882), 
unable to run upon or lift itself from the glib surface. It evi- 
dently had mistaken the transparent and shining ice for open 
water." Von Tschusi relates a similar mis'ake on the part 
of a flock of Coots, Fulica aira, L. (cf. J. f. O., 1874, 

Black-throated diver. 185 

p. 343). Mr. Nelson, in his *' Natural History Collections of 
Alaska," writes : — " During a sledge journey along this coast 
fragments of the skin were seen, usually comprising the skin of 
the neck divided, and with the beak in front, and thus fastened 
as a fillet about the head, the long white beak projecting from 
the wearer's brow. Fillets made of this bird's skin in the same 
manner are commonly used by the natives of the coat just 
named, and about Kotzebue Sound. They are worn during 
certain religious dances held in winter, and are esteemed highly 
by the natives, from some occult power they are supposed to 

Nest. — The only record of the finding of the nest of the 
White- billed Diver, is that of Palander, during the voyage of 
the " Vega." He shot the female from the nest, on the 3rd of 
July, 1879, at Pitlekai, on the Tschuktschi Peninsula. 

Egg. — Like that of Colymbus glacialis. Axis, 37 inches; 
diam. 2*2. 


Colymbus arcficus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 221 (1766); Macgill. 
Brit. B. v. p. 294 (1852) ; Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 615, pi. 
627 (1876); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 201 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 105 (1884); 
Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 407 (1885); Saunders, 
Man. Brit. B. p. 697 (1889). 

Adult Male. — General colour above glossy black, spangled 
with white sub-terminal bars on the scapulars, very broad and 
distinct ; on each side of the mantle a second longitudinal 
patch of white, formed by broad sub-terminal bars to the 
feathers ; remainder of the back, rump, and upper tail-coverts 
black ; wing-coverts black, with twin spots of white on the 
median and greater series ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, 
quills and tail black ; head and neck dove-grey, slightly more 
slaty-grey on the forehead and region of the eye ; sides ot face 
and ear-coverts sooty-grey ; throat purple, brighter on the 
lower throat, the margin of which is abruptly defined on the 
fore-neck. Across the middle of the throat a band of white 
streaks, varied with eight streaks of black ; sides of lower 

1 86 Allen's naturalist's library. 

throat equally streaked with black and white, the black streaks 
very broad and extending to the sides of the neck ; remainder 
of under surface of body from the fore-neck downwards pure 
white ; the sides of the fore-neck and chest narrowly streaked 
with black and white; sides of the body glossy-black, the 
longer under tail-coverts black with white tips; under wing- 
coverts and axillaries white, the outer lower primary-coverts 
externally ashy ; bills black ; feet blackish ; iris crimson. 
Total length, 22*0 inches; culmen, 2*2; wing, ii*8; tail, 2'i ; 
tarsus, 2*9. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 21-0 
inches ; wing, 11 "5. 

Winter Plumage. — Similar to that of the Great Northern 
Diver, but distinguished by the much smaller bill. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Black-throated Diver breeds in 
the north of Scotland and in the Orkneys, but is not known 
from the Shetlands. It nests not uncommonly in Sutherland- 
shire and Caithness, and breeds also in the lochs of Inverness- 
shire, Perthshire, Ross, and Argyll, as well as in many of the 
Outer Hebrides (cf. Saunders' Manual, p. 698). In winter 
it visits all the coasts of the British Islands, but is rarer 
than the other species of Diver, and mostly young birds are 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species has a 
circumpolar distribution during the breeding season, nesting 
in the northern areas of both hemispheres, and migrating 
south in winter to the inland waters of Europe and the 
Mediterranean and in the east to Japan. At the last-named 
season it also extends its range to the Northern United 
States. It is not as yet known to occur in Greenland or 

Habits. — During the breeding season the Black-throated 
Diver frequents lochs and inland waters. In Norway it is by 
no means uncommon on the lakes of the higher fjelds, but 
the bird is not much in evidence during the day-time, though 
in the very early morning they were seen at Alfheim (1896) 
close to the house, swimming about in the lake, and making 
a considerable cackling. In the evening, as the days began 



ill \ 







t' f>m>!A 



to close in at the end of July, the pair of birds which fre- 
quented our lake, used to take long flights overhead, flying at 
a tremendous rate with their long necks outstretched^ and 
looking, in the dim twilight, like large Ducks. 

Mr. Ogilvie Grant writes to me : — " As far as I have 
observed in Scotland, the habits of the Black-throated Diver 
are quite similar to those of the Red-throated Diver, on 
which I send you a note, but C. ardicus never breeds on 
the small lochs. All the nests I have seen have been placed 
on the sloping banks of islands in the larger lochs, where trout 
are to be caught in plenty." 

Nest, — When in the water itself, the nest is simply made of 
dead grass and water-plants, but when on land there is no 
nest at all, or simply a few pieces of fresh sedge. 

Eggs. — Two in number. Ground-colour clay-brown or 
olive-brown, sometimes light or very dark chocolate brown. 
The black spots are scattered over the whole surface, and are 
equally distributed, the underlying spots being black or greyish- 
black, and scarcely to be distinguished from the overlying 
ones. The dimensions of the eggs — axis, 3'2-3"5 inches; 
diam., 1*9-2 '2 — overlap those of the Great Northern Diver, so 
that large eggs of C. arcHcus cannot be distinguished from 
small ones of'C glacialis. Too much care, therefore, cannot 
be taken in their identification. 


Colymbiis septentrionalis^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 220 (1766) 
Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 301 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur 
viii. p. 621, pi. 628 (1876); B. O. U. List Brit. B 
p. 202 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv 
p. 112 (1884) ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 412 (1885) ; 
Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 699 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. 
Brit. B. part xviii. (1891). 

{Plate CXIV.) 

Adult Male.— General colour above ashy-brown, with an oily 
green gloss, the feathers rather blacker in the centre, and 
sparsely spotted or edged with white, these spots less distinct 


on the lower back, rump, and uppsr tail-coverts, which are 
ahnost uniform ; the back of the neck plentifully streaked 
with white and black, the green gloss on the latter being very 
distinct ; wing-coverts brown, rather more distinctly edged 
and spotted with white ; quills and tail blackish ; crown of 
head and neck grey, obscurely mottled with dusky stripes on 
the former ; the nape and hind-neck very distinctly streaked 
with black and white ; sides of face, throat, and sides of neck 
clear slaty-grey, with a long triangular ])atch of vinous chestnut 
reaching from the lower throat to the fore-neck ; remainder 
of under surface of body white; the upper fore-neck and sides 
of chest streaked with black; sides of the body blackish, 
slightly spotted with white ; the lower flanks and thighs sooty 
brown ; under tail-coverts sooty-brown with white tips ; under 
wing-coverts and axillaries white, the latter with dark shaft 
markings ; bill black ; legs and feet greenish black ; iris 
hazel. Total length, 23*5 inches; culmen, 2-1; wing, io'q; 
tail, 1-8 ; tarsus, 2-65. 

Adult Female.^Similar in plumage to the male. Total length, 
21-5 inches; wing, io*8. 

Winter Plumage. — Slaty-grey above, profusely speckled with 
white in the form of twin spots on the feathers, which 
are much smaller on the mantle, lower back, rump, and 
upper tail-coverts ; the head and neck greyer and thickly 
streaked with narrow lines of dull white ; lores, sides of face, 
and under surface of body white, mottled with black centres 
to the feathers on the sides of the fore-neck and chest ; the 
sides of the body and flanks slaty-black, mottled and edged 
with white ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, with 
dusky brown centres along the latter; the lower primary 
coverts externally ashy. 

Young Birds in Winter Plumage. — May generally be distinguished 
by a few dusky freckled edges to the feathers of the lower 
throat and sides of neck. 

Nestling.— Covered with sooty-brown down, paler on the 
under-surface, which becomes white as the bird grows older. 

Characters. — The very different summer plumage distinguishes 
the Red-throated from the Blue-throated Diver in the breeding 


season. The speckled upper surface of the body and the 
dusky streaks on the axillaries distinguish C. septeiitrioiialis in 

Range in Great Britain. — This species breeds in Scotland from 
Argyleshire northwards, as well as in the Hebrides and the 
Orkney and Shetland Isles. " In Ireland," says Mr. Ussher, 
" one or two pairs have been discovered to breed on mountain 
lakes in Donegal, but as their eggs are regularly taken for 
collectors, the birds, if not so already, will soon be driven 
away. A pair may have bred in Sligo (Zool. 1890, p. 352)." 
In winter the Red-throated Diver is found on all the coasts of 
Great Britain, and not only ascends estuaries, but is sometimes 
observed far inland. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species has a 
circumpolar distribution during the breeding season, and has 
been found as far north as 82° N. lat. In winter it visits the 
Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas, and in Eastern Asia 
is known to occur in Japan, China, and Formosa. In America 
it migrates in winter across nearly the whole of the United 

Habits. — I am indebted to my friend, Mr. W. R. Ogilvie 
Grant, for the following interesting note on the species : — 
" In the north of Scotland I have, on many occasions, had 
opportunities of watching the breeding habits of the Red- 
throated Diver, and in May of 1896 I spent several whole days in 
observing the behaviour of a pair who had a nest with two 
partially incubated eggs on the edge of a small loch. This 
species almost invariably selects the small desolate lochs, 
often mere pools, situated in the more lonely and deserted 
parts, for purposes of nidification. In the north of Suther- 
land, where the country is a mass of lochs of every size and 
shape, there is much ground eminently suited to the habits 
of this Diver, but for some reason only a few scattered pairs 
avail themselves of this fine tract of country. The two eggs 
are always placed close to the water's edge, either on the 
margin of the loch, or on some tiny islet where the bank rises 
at a very gentle slope above the surface of the water. These 
birds are so curiously constructed — the legs being placed so 
far back on the long boat-shaped body — that, though admirably 


adapted for an aquatic life, they are apparently incapable of 
standing upright on land. When leaving the water to gain 
the nest, the bird lies on its belly, and slowly pushes itself up 
the gently-sloping peat or turf bank by using its legs alternately. 
Generally there are two distinct short ' runs ' leading from the 
nest to the water, doubtless made by the bodies of the birds 
being dragged over the soft, wet ground as they change places 
during the period of incubation. The nest is merely a slight 
hollow in the wet bank pressed down by the body of the bird, 
sometimes imperfectly lined with a few bits of dead grass. On 
one occasion, being anxious, if possible, to secure the parent 
birds without shooting them, two carefully concealed gins were 
placed under the water just at the end of the ' runs,' so that it 
seemed an absolute certainty that the sitting bird must be 
caught by the legs either in going to or leaving the nest. This 
plan, however, utterly failed. Being hidden a couple of 
hundred yards off, we watched the female bird (for it was her 
turn on the nest) through the glass. Three times she settled 
herself comfortably on the eggs, and as many times we 
frightened her off. But on each occasion she passed over the 
traps without touching them, though the depth of water could 
not have been more than two inches. On leaving the nest 
the parent bird glides gracefully and quietly into the water, 
and, if danger has been sighted, almost instantly dives, with 
scarcely a ripple, re-appearing at a considerable distance from 
the nest. If the cause of uneasiness is near at hand, the body 
is sunk in the water till little more than the head and neck 
are visible, and it may easily be imagined that in rough water 
ihe birds are most difficult to see, even with the help of 
the glass. 

"When unconscious of danger, the Divers float and dive and 
preen themselves much like Ducks, often raising themselves to 
semi-erect positions in the water, and flapping their wings. 
Some of the attitudes assumed by them when dressing their 
feathers are very curious. When preening the feathers of the 
sides and flanks, the birds turn half over, shewing the whole of 
the white sides of the breast and belly, and when sorting the 
feathers of the breast, they turn right over on their backs and 

" This species differs from the Black-throated Diver in one 


particular, for it seldom, if ever, procures its food in the small 
lochs where it breeds. 

"As a rule these pools are devoid of trout, and consequently, 
though one of the birds may frequently be seen swimming 
about while the other is engaged in hatching the eggs, all the 
fish are procured in the large lochs, which are sometimes a 
considerable distance away. Like the rest of its kind, the 
Red-throated Diver cannot rise very quickly from the water, 
but flaps along the surface for some distance before it gains 
sufficient impetus to be able to fly. When once on the wing 
and well under weigh, it travels at a great pace, the flight being 
very much like that of a duck. If disturbed from their nest the 
birds circle for some time high over the loch, the male uttering 
his hoarse cry, kork, kork, kork, kork, as he passes overhead, the 
sound reminding one somewhat of that of an old cock Grouse. 

"It is marvellous how easily Divers may be overlooked on 
the water, especially when the surface is rough. I have often 
glassed a lock carefully from a distance of about a quarter of a 
mile, and been able to make out nothing, but on a nearer 
approach have found it to be tenanted by a pair of Divers. 
The keen vision of these birds evidently enables them to sight 
any suspicious object at a considerable distance, and we proved 
this to our satisfaction in the summer of '96. A hen sitting 
on her nest at a distance of several hundred yards, instantly 
detected an incautious movement of the top of my head, 
which was the only part of my body visible. 

"It may be worth while to add that a thoroughly trust- 
worthy keeper in Sutherland assures me that a pair of Red- 
throated Divers, which we had watched together in the early 
summer of 1896, eventually bred among the heather at a con- 
venient distance f?'oni the neai-est pool. The shells of the two 
eggs were not found by him until the young birds had hatched 
off and were seen swimming, with the parents, in the loch hard 
by. There is every reason to believe this keeper's stor}^, for he 
has known these Divers and their ways all his life, and had 
been trying hard to find the nest of this particular pair. If 
these birds really bred on land, and I have no reason to doubt 
the fact, the question is. How did they manage to alight on 
the ground, and, more wonderful still, when once there, how- 
did they manage to get on the wing ? " 

192 Allen's naturalist's lidrary. 

Nest. — Generally none, the eggs being laid upon the bare 
ground. Occasionally a slight foundation of dead sedge, or a 
little moss, is observable. 

Eggs. — Two in number. Ground-colour dark olive, or dark 
chocolate-brown, the latter sometimes so deep in tint that 
the spots are scarcely discernible. Sometimes the eggs are 
covered all over with small black dots, in other instances the 
spots are larger and almost form blotches. On one egg in the 
British Museum there is a large blotch of brown. The under- 
lying spots are blackish, or greyish-black, and are about as 
distinct as the overlying ones. Axis 2'6-3'o5 inches, diam. 


The Grebes have the same remarkable projection of the cne- 
mial process of the tibia as the Divers, and the same form of the 
posterior process of the ilium described under the heading of the 
last-mentioned birds. The palate is schizognathous, and the 
cervical vertebrae are seventeen to twenty-one in number : the 
anchylosed sacral vertebrae are preceded by a free vertebra, in 
front of which are four anchylosed dorsal vertebrae ; the median 
xiphoid process of the sternum is abruptly truncated, so that 
the lateral processes extend behind it. The spinal feather 
tract is not defined on the neck, and the ambiens and femoro- 
caudal muscles are wanting. 

The bill is long and pointed, and resembles that of the Divers, 
from which the Grebes are at once distinguished by their lobed 
toes, and by their obsolete tail, which is not visible. 


Lophaithyia^ Kaup. Nat. Syst. p. 72 (1829). 

Type, L. cristata (Linn.). 

Although I cannot follow the conclusions of my American 

colleagues in their determination of the generic names of 

Colymbus for the Grebes, and Urinator for the Divers, I must 

admit that their conclusion that the Little Grebe {Podicipes 

minor, auct.), must be considered to be the type of the genus 

Podicipes^ seems to me to be indubitable. 

GREBES. 193 

The genus Fodiceps {potius Podicipes), was founded by 
Latham, in 1790, and there is nothing in his characters to 
indicate any individual species as the type of his genus. The 
lobed feet, which he recognises as a character, are pecuhar to 
all Grebes, and therefore the type of the genus can only be 
assured by elimination. The history of Latham's genus can, 
therefore, be traced as follows : — 

Latham, 1790. 

Lophaithyia, Kaup, 1829 ...Podiceps cristatus. 

„ cayanus (ex Bodd. PI. 
Ent. 404, fig. i). 
Proctopus^ Kaup, 1829 ... „ auritus (nee Linn.) = 

P. nigricGllis^ Brehm. 

!,, obscurus ) _ r> 

cornutus \ ~ ^\ aurms, 


Podethyia, Kaup, 1829 ... ,, rubricollis=P. griseigena, 


,, thomensis (ex Briss. Orn. 

vi. p. 58). 

Podiceps, Kaup, 1829 ... .,., minor. 

;, dominions. 

,, hebridicus (= P. minor, 


Podilymbus, Less, 1831 ... „ carolinensis. 

,, ludovicianus. 

Kaup, in 1829, split up the genus Podicipes, and fixed 
P. ininor as the type, dividing the other Grebes under separate 
generic headings. I do not at present see any appeal from his 
decision, much as I regret the necessity of having to adopt his 
name Lophcethyia for the larger European species. 

As with the Divers, the habits of one Grebe are very like those 
of another, and it is consequently difficult to say anything 
that is new about their mode of life. They are all but cosmo- 
politan in their range. 

The genus Lophcethyia is distinguished from the smaller 
Grebes by the length of the bill, which is pointed, and measures 
from the gape more than the length of the inner toe and claw. 
15 o 



Colymbiis cristatits, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 222(1766). 

Podiceps cristatus, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 250 (1852); Dresser, 
B. Eur. viii. p. 629, pi. 629 (1879) ; B. O. U. List Brit. 11 
p. 202 (1883) ; Saundeis, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. n 7 
(1884); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 445 (1885); 
Lilford, Col. Pig. Brit. B. part xviii. (1891). 

Podidpes cristafns, Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 701 (1889). 

Adult Male in Breeding Plumag-e. — General colour above black, 
the feathers with obscure brown edges ; scapulars and wing- 
coverts like the back, the lesser series forming a white band along 
the carpal edge of the wing; quills also blick, the secondaries 
white, the inner ones white, externally more or less brown, and 
the innermost secondaries like the back ; tail blackish ; crown 
of head black, expanding into a crest or tuft of long plumes on 
each side of the nape; the lores white with a reddish tinge, 
continued in a narrow line over the eye; the sides of the 
crown, sides of face, fore-part of cheeks and ear-coverts, 
white ; sides of hinder crown, hind part of ear-coverts and 
cheeks, orange-chestnut, tipped with black, forming a very 
wide frill, which nearly meets on the throat; entire under- 
surface of body silky white, with a tinge of vinous chestnut on 
the fore-neck and sides of body, the latter mottled with 
blickish centres to the feathers; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries white; "bill red ; the bare space between the eye and 
the base of the bill blackish ; legs and feet olive-green ; iris 
crimson" (H. Seebohm). Total length, 20 inches ; culmen, 2*2 : 
wing, 7 '2 ; tail, I'G ; tarsus, 2-4. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but slightly smaller. 
Total length, 18 inches; wing, 6"9. 

Winter Plumage. — The colour of the back and of the under- 
surface is much the same as in the summer plumage, but is a 
little greyer, and there is no ruddy tinge on the sides of the 
body, which are dusky brown. The wings are also the same 
at both seasons of the year. The red tippet, however, is lost, 
and the crown of the head is blackish, but the lateral crest is 
indicated by elongated feathers extending to each side of the 
nape ; lores and a streak over the eye, white. In a male 


procured by Colonel Feilden in the Yarmouth market on the 
2nd of November, there are signs of rufous and black on the 
sides of the neck, but whether these are remains of the last 
breeding-plumage, or the commencement of the next one, is 
difficult to determine. I believe them to be the last remains 
of the breeding-dress. 

Young in First Winter. — Resemble the winter plumage of the 
adults, but have broad white and black streaks on the sides of 
the head, one black line along the ear coverts and another 
below the eye being especially distinct. Seebohm says that 
these stripes on the head are moulted during the first autumn, 
when the bird resembles the winter plumage of the adult, but 
a specimen in the Hume collection, procured near Delhi on 
the 14th of January, not only shows these stripes very 
distinctly, but is also commencing to don the red tippet. The 
ornamental plumes worn by the young birds during their first 
spring are neither so large nor so bright as in old individuals. 

Young.— Brown ; the head, neck, and under-surface of the 
body white, with longitudinal black stripes on the upper parts 
and on the breast, two transverse stripes across the bill, and a 
grey patch on the sides of the head. 

Characters. — The peculiar red tippet and white face, as well 
as the red bill, distinguish this species in summer plumage, as 
well as the larger size. Z. gj'tseigena, which might be con- 
founded with it in winter plumage, is recognised by the want 
of the white eye-stripe. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Great Crested Grebe breeds in 
some of the open meres of England, such as the Norfolk 
Broads, and certain lakes in Leicestershire, Yorkshire, Shrop- 
shire, Cheshire, Lancashire, and Breconshire. Its most 
northerly breeding range in Great Britain appears to be in the 
neighbourhood of the Clyde, where Mr. Robert Read has 
discovered its nest. In winter it is shot on most of our 
coasts. Mr. R. J. Ussher states that in Ireland it "breeds on 
lakes, large and small, in Antrim, Down, Armagh,' Monaghan, 
Fermanagh, Longford, Westmeath, King's and Queen's 
Counties, Clare, Gal way, Roscommon, Sligo, and Leitrim. 
Several pairs inhabit some of the larger lakes." 

o 2 

T96 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Rang-e outside the British Islands. — The present species is 
found over the greater part of the Old World, breeding in 
most countries of Europe and the Mediterranean basin, as far 
north as the Baltic provinces, Denmark, and Southern Sweden, 
across Siberia to Japan and China, and south to Australia and 
New Zealand. It occurs in winter throughout the Indian 
Peninsula in localities suited to its habits, but the African 
Great Crested Grebe seems to be different, and is known as 
Lophcelhyia infuscata (Salvad). It has not been recorded from 
any part of North America. 

Habits. — Open waters are the principal localities affected by 
this Grebe during the breeding season, when its nest may 
be found far from the shore, a floating mass among the 
reeds. When the nest is approached, the birds generally swim 
away at a great rate, almost as fast as a boat can pursue them, 
and, on the latter appearing to gain on them, they take refuge 
in diving, seldom taking wing, though when called upon they 
are birds of strong flight, and fly with necks outstretched like 
a duck or a diver. Seebohm writes : — " Its food is entirely 
procured in the water, and consists of water-beetles and other 
aquatic insects, small fish, small frogs and molluscs. The 
seeds and tender shoots of aquatic plants are also often found 
in its stomach ; but instead of small stones or gravel, numbers 
of its own feathers, plucked from the ventral region, are mixed 
with its food. It is not known that this curious habit, which 
is more or less common to all the Grebes, is intended to assist 
digestion, but it has been remarked by many ornithologists in 
widely different localities — Nauman (father and son), Meves 
(father and son), Yarrell, Thompson, Macgillivray, &c. Its 
ordinary alarm-note is a loud, clear kek^ kek ;\>vX at the pairing- 
time another note, the call-note, may be heard— a loud, 
grating, guttural sound, like the French word croix. 

"The Great Crested Grebe is decidedly a gregarious bird. 
When I was stopping at Stolp, in Pomerania, in 1882, Dr. 
Holland was kind enough to pilot me to the Lantow See, 
a lake about four square miles in extent, and surrounded on 
three sides by pine forests. At one end of the lake was a 
large bed of reeds, and as we rowed towards it we saw quite a 
little fleet of Great Crested Grebes sail out. It was a most 



beautiful sight ; there may have been thirty or forty of them. 
Every now and then one or two dived out of sight; occasionally 
a pair or two took wing ; and by-and-by the rest flew away 
together, and, wheeling round, settled in the middle of the 
lake. Although it was the 30th of May the reeds had not 
attained a fourth of their ultimate height, and the Grebes had 
only just begun to breed. Many nests were empty, many 
contained only a single egg, and none of them contained more 
than two. Although the nests were exposed to the bird's-eye 
view of a passing Crow, on account of the smallness of the 
reeds, none of the eggs were covered. 

" A week afterwards I found a very large colony of Great 
Crested Grebes on the Garda See, a lake close to the sea, 
about sixty miles west of the Gulf of Danzig. They were 
breeding in an immense reed-bed, and as our boat neared 
their nesting-grounds we saw the Grebes sailing majestically, 
not to say indignantly, out of the side of the reed-bed. As 
soon as we reached the place I put on my waders and was 
soon in a dense forest of reeds, where it was very easy to lose 
one's way. The water was above my knees, and the reeds 
were far above my head. After stopping to take the nest of a 
Great Sedge-Warbler with four eggs^ I soon found the colony 
of Grebes. There were dozens of nests, biu never very close 
to each other, and I soon filled my handkerchief with eggs. 
It was the 5th of June, and only about half the nests contained 
the full complement of eggs. The birds had evidently seen us 
long before we approached, and had had ample time to retreat 
with dignity. In the nests which contained three or four eggs, 
they were warm and covered with damp moss ; but in those 
containing only one or two they were uncovered and cold. 
This applied equally to the nests on the outskirts of the reeds, 
where the eggs could be seen by a passing Crow, and to those 
hidden in the depths of the reed-bed. The natural inference is 
that the eggs are not covered until the female begins to sit. 
and that the object of covering them is not protective, at least 
in the technical sense in which that word is used. The Grebes 
cover their eggs, not to conceal them from enemies, but to 
protect them from cold. In the recesses of a dense reed- 
bed white eggs are as inconspicuous as in a hole in a tree or 
in a bank." 


Nest. — A floating mass of weeds. The one discovered by 
Mr. Robert Read in Renfrewshire, in 1889, was built, he tells 
me, "amongst the rank herbage of a floating island, although 
the nest was not actually in the water like that of a Little 
Grebe. It contained three eggs, and, though they were about 
a week incubated, they were not covered up." 

Eggs. — Three or four in number. Greenish white, with a 
chalky covering, but as incubation proceeds they become 
stained, through contact with the decomposing weeds of which 
the nest is made, an ochreous or brown colour. Axis, 2' 1-2 "45 
inches; diam., i '4-1 -55. 


Colymbus griseigetia, Bodd. Tabl. PI. Enl. p. 55 (1783). 
Podiceps riihricoUis^ Lath.; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 259 (1852); 

Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 459 (1885). 
Podiceps griseigena, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 639, pi. 630 

(1878); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 203 (1883); Saunders, 

ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 124 (1884) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. 

Brit. B. part xxvi. (1893). 
Podicipes griseigeiia, Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 703 (18S9). 

Adult. — General colour above black, v>'ith a few remains of 
brown edgings to some of the feathers ; wings blackish, with 
the lesser series white along the carpal bend of the wing; 
primaries black, the secondaries pure white, the innermost being 
blackish like the back ; tail black ; crown of head and hind- 
neck glossy-black, with a greenish gloss, the feathers on the 
hinder crown developed into a hood ; sides of face, ear-coverts, 
and throat light slaty-grey, with a streak of white running from 
the angle of the mouth below the eye, above the ear-coverts 
and skirting the hinder edge of the latter, where the vv'hite 
broadens, but does not cross the throat ; lower throat, sides of 
neck, and entire fore-neck, rich chestnut ; remainder of under 
surAice of body silky white, the sides of the body chestnut, 
with dusky blackish tips to the feathers ; vent brownish ; under 
wing-coverts and axillaries, pure white ; '• bill black, but the 
lower mandible and the sides of the upper mandible yellow at 
the base ; bare space between the eyes and the base of the bill 


reddish-black ; legs and feet dull green, darkest on the joints ; 
iris, brownish-red" {Seebohm). Total length, 15-5 inches; 
culmen, 1-4; wing, 6-3; tail, 1-3; tarsus, 1-9. 

Adult Female.— Similar to the male, but slightly smaller. 
Total length, 15 inches; wing, 6-o. 

Winter Plumage.-— Differs in the want of all the ornamental 
plumes, the upper surface being blackish, with browner edges 
to the feathers ; crown of head and neck blackish-brown, as 
also the lores and the sides of the crown ; sides of face and 
under surface of body white, with the neck ruddy-brown, as 
well as the sides of the upper breast ; the sides of the body 
and flanks spotted with dusky-brown. 

Young in Down.— Upper parts dark brown, striped with white 
on the head and neck, and with pale-brown on the back \ the 
under parts white, striped and spotted on the throat with dark 
brown {Seebo/un). 

Characters.— Adult birds are recognised from the three suc- 
ceeding species by their larger size. The species cannot be 
confounded with L. cristata m summer phmiage, as it has the 
face and throat grey without any rufous tippet. 

In winter dress the two species are very much alike, but the 
want of the white lores and eyebrow distinguishes L. griseigena 
in winter and immature plumage from the corresponding stages 
of Z. cristata. 

Range in Great Britain.— The Red-necked Grebe is princiijally 
a winter visitor to our eastern coasts, and is rarely found on the 
western side of England and Scotland, and has only occurred 
some half-dozen tunes in Ireland. It is likewise seen on 
the southern shores of England, but more sparingly than on 
the eastern ones, though it is said to be not unfrequently met 
with in Cornwall. 

Range outside the British Islands.— The present species breeds 
throughout Russia from Archangei to the Caspian and Black 
Seas, lis far east as l^u'kestan, and westwards in the Baltic and 
Northern Germany to the South of Norway. To other parts of 
Europe it is a migrant, but Colonel Irby has seen young speci- 
mens from Marocco, and believes that they were reared in that 
country. In North America L. griseigena is replaced by a 


slightly larger form, L. Jiolboelli, which ranges from Greenland 
westwards, and occurs in Eastern Siberia, varying south in 
winter to Japan and even reaching Turkestan, according to 
Severtzoff. This form is very doubtfully distinct from Z. 
griseigena. It has a wing of 7 •2-8*2 inches, whereas the wing 
of Z. griseigena varies from 6'o-y3 inches ; thus it will be seen 
that the dimensions of the wing in these two forms overlap. 

Habits. — Seebohm, who had opportunities of studying this 
species in its native habits, writes : — " In North Germany it is 
a very common bird, arriving late in March or early in April, 
and leaving again in October. It is almost exclusively an in- 
habitant of lakes and ponds, where sedge or reeds abound. 
On small ponds solitary pairs are found, but on the larger 
lakes great numbers breed together, though the nests are 
scattered up and down amongst the reeds, and not clustered 
together in a colony. The nests are sometimes placed in the 
recesses of the thick reed-beds, but quite as often they can be 
seen at a considerable distance in localities where the reeds are 
only half-grown and thinly sprinkled over the water. The nest 
is always floating, so that it can rise or fall with the water, and 
is considerably less than that of the Coot. It is somewhat 
carelessly made of reeds and decayed water-plants, and near 
each nest is a sort of sham nest, or foundation of a nest, 
merely a few reeds laid together, which is used as a roosting- 
place for the parent which, for the time being, is not occupied 
with the incubation of the eggs. Fresh eggs may be obtained 
during the first half of May. When the third egg is laid the 
bird begins to sit ; but it is ever on the look-out for danger, 
and long before the nest can be discovered, the approach of an 
intruder has been observed, the eggs have been carefully 
covered with black weeds to keep them warm, and the bird 
may be seen apparently feeding at a distance, looking as inno- 
cent and unconscious as possible." 

Nest. — Made, like those of other Grebes, of reeds and de- 
cayed water-plants. 

Eg^s. — Three or four in number. Greenish-white, covered 
with a chalky substance when fresh, but becoming discoloured 
to a buff or brown shade. Axis i •85-2-15 inches, diameter 




Dytes, Kaup. Natiirl. Syst. p. 49 (1829). 

Type D. auritus (Linn.). 

The Horned Grebes have the bill shorter than in the Great 

Crested Grebes, the length of the bill from the gape being 

less than that of the inner toe and claw. The form of 

the bill, too, is stouter and rather more curved at the tip. The 

tippet, too, is more dense and entirely black, and extends over 

the entire throat, the feathers of which are full, the black tippet 

being surmounted by a band of crested plumes along the 

sides of the crown from the eye, forming a crest. 


Colyinbus auritus^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 222(1766). 

Podiceps corjiutiis, Gm. ; Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 264 (1852); 

Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 462 (1885). 
Podiceps auritus, Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 645, pi, 631 (1879); 

B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 203 (1883); Saunders, ed. 

Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 128 (1884); Lilford, Col. Fig. 

Brit. B. part xxvii. (1893). 
Podicipes auritus, Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 705 (1889). 
{Plate CXr.) 
Adult Male. — General colour above black, slightly varied with 
greyish edges to the feathers ; wing-coverts ashy-brown, as also 
the quills, the primaries with dusky blackish tips, the second- 
aries pure white, the innermost secondaries black like the 
back ; tail black ; crown of head black, the hind-neck brown- 
ish black ; the sides of the face and upper throat black, the 
feathers on the posterior part of the face being very long, and 
forming a frill round the back of the head, which is further 
ornamented by a broad superciliary band of chestnut feathers, 
rather paler and more tawny above the eye, this superciliary 
band produced backwards on the sides of the nape so as to 
form a dense tuft of horn-like plumes ; the lower throat, fore- 
neck, as well as the sides of the body, deep vinous chestnut, 
the feathers of the latter slightly varied with dusky blackish 
tips, the feathers near the vent also dusky brown ; remainder 
of under surface of body silky white ; under wing-coverts and 


axillaries pure white; "bill black, crimson at the tip and at 
the base of the under mandible ; bare space between the eyes 
and the base of the bill crimson ; legs and feet olive-green, 
palest on the webs ; iris crimson " {Seebohni). Total length, 
1 2*0 inches; culmen, 0-9; wing, 5-5 ; tail, i-6; tarsus, i'8. 

Mr. E. VV. Nelson says that specimens obtained by him near 
Nulato, in Alaska, had the eyes of the following brilliant 
colours : — "The ball of the eye white ; a bright scarlet areola 
around the outer edge of the iris, which latter is defined by a 
white line. The iris proper is bright crimson, with its inner 
edge brilliant white shaded with pink. The pupil consists of 
a central black spot, with a broad ring of dark purple." 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 11*5 
inches ; wing, 5-6. 

Winter Plumage. — General colour above blackish, slightly 
shaded with grey on the edges of the feathers ; the head devoid 
of ornamental plumes ; crown and neck black, the feathers of 
the former a little full towards the nape ; lores and sides of 
crown to the line of the eye black ; throat white, like the side 
of the face, and extending on to the sides of the neck ; re- 
mainder of under surface of body silky-white, with a little 
dusky brown on the lower throat below the line of the tippet, 
which is indicated by the white feathers of the throat and face ; 
sides of neck blackish-brown ; sides of body mottled with 
greyish-black tips to the feathers; "bill dark horny, pinkish 
towards the base, paler at the tip ; tarsi and feet pearly-grey, 
outer sides of tarsi, outer toe, and joints blackish ; iris blood- 
red " ( JV. R. Ogilvie Grant):^ 

Young Birds in Winter. — Resemble the adults, but are much 
browner, especially on the flanks and lower abdomen ; sides 
of face dusky-white, not pure white as in the adults ; feathers 
under the eyes and lores black ; feet, in dried skin, with a good 
deal of yellow abotit the toes. 

Characters. —The old birds arc distinguished from the other 
British Grebes by the black head and tippet, the tawny chestnut 
bands forming the crest on each side of the crown, and the 
deep chestnut throat and fore-neck. In winter the resem- 

* On the changes of pluma|^e m this sjDecics, cf. J. G. Millais, Ibis, 
1896, pp. 454-457- 


blance between D. auritits and P. nigricoUis is closer, but the 
upturned bill of the latter and the white on the inner primaries 
will almost distinguish it. 

Range in Great Britain. — This Grebe is a winter visitor to Great 
Britain, occurring on both east and wxst coasts of Scotland, 
but in England and Ireland being much more seldom met with 
on the west and south. On the east coast of England it is a 
regular winter visitor. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Slavonian or Horned 
Grebe nests throughout Northern Europe and Siberia, as well 
as in Iceland. It also occurs throughout North America, 
where it breeds from the United States northward. It nests 
sparingly in Denmark, and ranges south over Europe in winter, 
when it visits the Mediterranean, while at the latter season it 
has been known to reach the Bermudas. 

Habits. — The late Mr. Proctor, who visited Iceland in 1837, 
has given the following account of the species : — " This bird 
frequents the fresh waters, and nests amidst the reeds and other 
rank herbage. The young birds, when first hatched, are 
covered with grey-coloured down. No sooner does the old 
bird perceive danger from any intruders than she instantly 
dives and emerges at thirty or forty yards distance. One day 
during my sojourn in Iceland, having seen one of these birds 
dive from the nest, I placed myself with my gun at my 
shoulder, waiting for its reappearance. As soon as it emerged, 
I fired and killed it, and was surprised to see two young ones, 
which it seems had been concealed beneath the wings of the 
parent bird, drop upon the water. I afterwards shot several 
other birds of this species, all of which dived with their young 
under their wings. The young birds were placed with their 
heads towards the tail, and their bills resting on the back of 
the parent bird." 

Seebohm relates that the well-known naturalist, Dr. Kriiper, 
once found a nest, the eggs of which were highly incubated, and 
listened to the cries of the female on the nest, while the male 
attempted to frighten him away by suddenly rising out of the 
water in front of him, splashing with his feet in the water, and 
joining his cries to those of its mate. So persistent was it 


that Kill per returned to the shore for his butterfly-net, and 
when the performance was repeated, caught the bird in it. 

Nest. — Described by Proctor as large, floating on the surface 
of the water, with which it rises and falls ; it is composed of a 
mass of reeds and other aquatic plants. Dr. Kriiper states that 
he has occasionally found the nest on a tussock of grass in the 
water, and once on a stone. 

Eggs. — From two to four in number, and sometimes, accord- 
ing to Seebohm, five. They are not to be distinguished from 
those of the Black-necked Grebe, and are of a greenish-white 
colour with the usual chalky covering. Axis, i '65-1 "95 inch; 
diam., i "2-1 "35. 


Proctopiis, Kaup. Natiirl. Syst. p. 49 (1829). 

Type, P. nigricollis (C. L. Brehm). 

The shape of the bill, which is upturned at the end, instead 
of being straight as in Dytes, distinguished the genus Proctopus 
from the last-named genus. The bill is, moreover, depressed 
at the base, being wider than it is deep ; whereas in Dytes the 
contrary is the case, and the bill is deeper than it is wide at the 
base. The ornamental tufts on the head also are hairy in 
appearance rather than plumose, and spring from the region of 
the ear-coverts. 


Podiceps nigricollis, C. L. Brehm, Vog. Deutschl. p. 693 (183 1) ; 

Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 651, pi. 632 (1878); B. O. U. 

List Brit. B. p. 204 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. 

B. iv. p. 133 (1884) ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 465 

(1885) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxv. (1893). 
Podicei)s aiiritus^ Gm. (nee Linn.); Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 270 


Podicipes nigricoUis^ Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 707 {1889). 

Adult Male in Breeding- Plumage.— General colour above black, 
with a slaty gloss ; wing-coverts like the back ; quills sooty- 
black, with darker ends to the primaries, the inner primaries 


with white on the inner webs, secondaries entirely white, 
except the innermost, which are hke the back; tail black; 
head and neck black, the crown having a frill composed of 
elongated feathers; the ear coverts chestnut and composed of 
elongated plumes, which are surmounted by a superciliary tuft 
of similar elongated feathers of a golden straw-colour, this tuft 
starting from the eye ; cheeks and entire throat black ; 
remainder of under surface, from the fore-neck downwards, 
silvery white ; the sides of the body slightly mottled with 
blackish markings, and having also chestnut-tipped feathers, 
especially developed on the sides of the rump ; under wing- 
coverts and axillaries white ; " bill black ; bare space between 
the eye and the base of the bill reddish-black ; legs and feet 
olive-green, paler on the webs ; iris crimson " {Seehohm). 
Total length, 12*0 inches ; culmen, 0-95 ; wing, 5*0 ; tail, 1-35 ; 
tarsus, 17. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 1 1 inches ; 
wing, 5-1. 

Winter Plumage. — Blackish above, with slightly greyer edges 
to the feathers ; head and neck blackish, as well as the lores and 
feathers below and behind the eye ; sides of face, ear-coverts, 
and under surface of body silky white, the sides of the body 
mottled with ashy-blackish ends to the feathers ; sides of upper 
neck white ; sides of lower neck dusky-brown, meeting across 
the fore-neck and forming a collar ; wings dark brown, the 
secondaries white, with the exception of the innermost, which 
are white only on the inner web, the last ones being like the 
back ; the inner primaries white along the inner web. 

Characters. — In breeding plumage the Black-necked Grebe is 
distinguished by the black fore-neck and chest, which resemble 
the throat, though sometimes the chest shows a little rufous, 
but never anything like the entirely chestnut chest of D. auritus. 
The tuft of crest-feathers behind the eye is darker chestnut 
and more hairy in texture. In winter plumage the up-turned 
shape of the bill and the white on the inner primaries dis- 
tinguish P. ntgricoHis, and the same characters may be 
employed for the determination of immature birds. 

Range in Great Britain. — The present species is a bird of 
Southern Europe, and occurs more frequently in spring and 


summer, being of rare occurrence in autumn and winter. It 
is, therefore, more frequently met with on the south coast of 
England, and on the east, while it is believed to have bred in 
Norfolk, as the late E. T. Booth had an adult bird and two 
nestlings brought to him by a marshman some years ago. On 
the west coast of England, as well as in Scotland and Ireland, 
the records of the capture of the species are less numerous. 

Range outside the British Islands. — This species is an inhabitant 
of Central and Southern Europe, nesting abundantly in most 
of the countries of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and 
being found in great numbers in Northern Africa. It appears 
to nest in Abyssinia, and again in Southern Africa, both in 
the Cape Colony and the Transvaal. It has been said to 
breed in Denmark, and to have wandered as far north as 
Iceland. In Asia it is met with over the temperate regions to 
Korea and Japan, and in winter it is found in China, and has 
also been procured by Mr. A. O. Hume on the Mekran coast 
in February. 

Habits. — The Black-necked Grebe is usually considered to 
be a much shyer bird than the Slavonian Grebe, and seeks 
safety in diving rather than by flight. Naumann describes its 
note as a high soft, but far-sounding, beeh^ which, in the pairing 
season, is rapidly repeated, and becomes a trill bidde7\ vidder^ 
vidder, vidder. The food and habits of this Grebe otherwise 
resemble those of the other members of the f^imily. 

Nest. — Made of reeds and rotten water-plants ; but, according 
to Canon Tristram, they are in Algeria sometimes raised on 
artificial islets, frequently almost touching each other, and 
sometimes piled on stout foundations rising from more than a 
yard under water. In Denmark, Mr. Benzon says that the 
nests were made chiefly of moss, with which the female covers 
up her eggs on leaving them. Mr. Thomas Ayres, who has 
found this Grebe breeding in the Transvaal in December, says 
that " the nest is found in shallow lagoons, in two or three feet 
of water, among the rushes. The nests, which float on the 
water, are formed of a mass of rushes about a foot in diameter, 
and two or three inches out of the water. On leaving the 
nest, the old bird always carefully covers the eggs with rushes, 
and any person unacquainted with this habit would pass the 



nest as an unsiglitly heap of rotten wood. The eggs are often 
much discoloured from being immersed in water; but this 
does not appear in any way to injure them, or to prevent them 
from hatching in the usual way." 

Eggs. — Three to five in number. Greenish- white in colour, 
with more or less of a chalky covering. Axis, i '65-1 '95 inches ; 
diam., 1-15-1 '3. 


Podiceps^ Kaup, Natiirl. Syst. p. 49 (1829); ex Lath. Ind. Orn. 
ii. p. 780 (1790). 

Type, P. flitviatilis (Tunst.). 

In this genus the tarsus is shorter than the middle toe and 
claw. All the species are of small size, and the distribution of 
this genus is all but cosmopolitan. 


Colyvibus fluviatilis, Tunstall, Orn. Brit. p. 3 (177 i). 
Sylbeocydus europceus, Macgill. Brit. B. v. p. 276 (1852). 
Podiceps flnviatilis. Dresser, B. Eur. viii. p. 659, pi. 633 (1880); 

Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iv. p. 137 (1884). 
Tachybaptes fliiviatilis, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 204 (1883). 
Podiceps minor, Briss. ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. iii. p. 468 

(1885); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xx. (1891). 
Podicipes fluviatilis, Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 709 (1889). 

Adult Male in Breeding Plumage. — General colour above sooty 
black, with a slight greenish gloss. The lower back and rump 
somewhat browner ; wing-coverts and quills sooty brown ; the 
secondaries with a good deal of white on them, sometimes 
confined to the base or to the inner web, but sometimes also 
occupying the whole of the latter, and even extending over the 
greater part of the outer web as well ; tail rudimentary, con- 
sisting of a tuft of soft black feathers ; crown of head and hind 
neck sooty-black like the back, but more distinctly washed 
with green ; lores, region of the eye, and sides of face sooty- 
black, including the fore-part of the ear-coverts and cheeks ; the 

2o8 Allen's naturalist's library. 

hinder part of the latter, as well as the sides of the hinder 
crown and entire sides of the neck, deep chestnut, extending 
across the lower throat ; the chin and upper throat black, with 
an indication of a narrow blackish line of feathers down the 
chestnut portion of the throat ; fore-neck, breast, and sides of 
body black ; the centre of the breast and abdomen blackish, 
but overlaid with a silvery white gloss ; the lower flanks and a 
patch on each side of the rump, cinnamon rufous, many of the 
feathers tipped and black ; axillaries and under wing-coverts, 
white ; quills below ashy, whitish at the base ; bill black, with 
the tip yellowish, and the gape conspicuously greenish-yellow ; 
bare spaces between the eye and the base of the bill blackish ; 
legs and feet olive-green, paler on the webs ; iris hazel. Total 
length, 8*5 inches ; culmen, I'o; wing, 4*0 ; tail, i"2 ; tarsus, i"3. 

Adult Female in Breeding Plumag-e. — Resembles the male. Total 
length, 8*o inches ; wing, 3 "9. 

Winter Plumage. — General colour above brown, the wings a 
little darker and more blackish, with the inner webs of the 
secondaries entirely white ; crown of head and neck dark brown ; 
lores and ear-coverts light brown, with a whity-brown streak 
above the latter; sides of neck and the lower throat reddish- 
brown ; cheeks and throat white ; remainder of under surface 
of body silky white ; the sides of the body rufous-brown, with 
dusky centres to the feathers. 

Nestling. — General colour brown, with longitudual black and 
rufous streaks down the back, the head less distinctly striped ; 
under surface of body dingy white, with black and rufous 
streaks on the throat and sides of neck. 

Young in first Winter. — Similar to the winter plumage of the 
adult, but generally with dusky streaks on the sides of the face. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Little Grebe is found every- 
where in localities suited to its habits, though it is rarer towards 
Scotland and the North generally. In Ireland, Mr. Ussher 
says, it is reported from every county, and it breeds commonly 
throughout the country, in suitable localities, on lakes, ponds, 
and rivers. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is an 
inhabitant of temperate Europe and Asia, and Japan. It does 


not range very far north in Europe, reaching to 62° in Scan- 
dinavia, and it winters in the countries of the Mediterranean, 
as there are specimens in the British Museum from Marocco, 
Egypt, Palestine, and Asia Minor ; it doubtless also breeds in 
these southern habitats. In China it is represented by an 
allied form, Podicilcs philippemis^ wh'ch breeds in China, and 
winters in the south in the Philippines, being replaced in the 
Moluccas by Fodicipes tricolor. In India a white-quilled 
species takes its place, Fodicipes alhipeiinis, while the African 
Little Grebe, Fodiciprs capensis, is again distinct, and is 
represented in Madagascar by Fodicipes pelzelni. In Australia 
Fodicipes gularis takes the place of P. fluviatilis^ and in 
America the latter species is represented by Fodicipes 

Habits. — One of the most interesting accounts of the habits 
of the Little Grebe is that contributed by Mr. Bryan Hook to 
Seebohm's " History of British Birds": — 

"On the 25th of March I found a Dabchick's nest on one of 
our small ponds about a foot from the water's edge, partly 
concealed by a tuft of heather on the bank above it. The pond 
was at the bottom of a field where a man was ploughing, and 
at the end of each furrow, as he passed the nest, the bird first 
carefully covered her eggs, then slipped into the water without 
the slightest splash, and remained concealed under the water 
amongst the reeds close to the nest. A fortnight afterwards I 
found the old bird very reluctant to move, and when, at last, 
she did dive away, she left her eggs uncovered. Two days 
later I found the old bird sitting in the nest with two young, 
and all dived away on my approach, the young ones coming 
up about five yards from the shore, where they floated motion- 
less. I did not see the young birds again until a fortnight 
later when I found them on the nest, wonderfully grown and 
able to dive about 15 yards. Nearly a month later, on the 
30th of May, the two young birds w^ere full grown, and whilst 
one of the parents took charge of them, the other sat upon five 
eggs in another nest in a similar situation on the other side of 
the pond. She was very restless, constantly getting off and 
on the nest. At length she found me out, and after carefully 
covering her eggs, slipped into the water behind the nest and 
15 ^ 


remained there until I came up. Four days later some of 
the eggs were hatched. The birds slipped off the nest on my 
approach, but remained among the rushes close by. I waited 
a few minutes and then plainly heard the cheeping of a young 
bird, so I drove away the parent, and immediately afterwards 
the young ones were floating a little away from the shore. The 
other parent bird had another young one further along the bank, 
so I ran towards it, but the young one scrambled under the wing 
of its parent, who dived away with it. The little one, however, 
came to the surface about ten yards from the shore. The 
young bird seemed able to dive unassisted about two yards. 
Old and young use their legs like a frog, horizontally, striking 
both at once, and bringing their feet together at the end of the 
stroke. I have seen the old ones diving in clear water some 
distance, but they did not use their wings. I spent the fol- 
lowing day watching the Dabchicks through a telescope. One 
old bird was sitting on the nest whilst the other dived for food, 
which she brought at intervals of about two minutes. When 
she approached the nest the young birds put their heads out 
from under the parent's wing, and took the food the other parent 
brought. The moment her provision was disposed of, she was 
off for more, always diving from place to place. The morsel, 
when found, required a good deal of shaking before it was fit 
to be given to the young birds, and when prepared, the parent 
dived with it in her beak, appearing again at the edge of the 
nest. Whilst I w^as watching her the bird on the nest caught 
sight of me, carefully covered the eggs that were still un- 
hatched, and slipped into the water. On going up to the nest 
I found two of the young birds amongst the rushes on the 
margin of the pond. I retired, and after watching a few 
minutes, saw the old bird suddenly appear at the side of the 
nest, after diving several times underneath it and swimming 
once or twice round it. After fully two minutes of this 
manoeuvring it landed on the nest and proceeded most care- 
fully to remove the covering from the eggs and arrange it 
round the sides of the nest ; then sitting upright for a moment 
and shaking out her feathers, she settled her breast upon the 
eggs. The other parent then came swimming up, and by its 
puffy appearance I think it had the youngsters under its wings. 
Seeing that all was going on well it probably deposited them 


in the nest, and then paddled gently off. An hour afterwards 
I found it very busy collecting weed to add to the nest ; it 
made several journeys for the purpose, diving for the weed 
it used. After a time it brought some food, but finding the 
young ones would not take it, though it tried all round the nest, 
it ate it itself On the next day both birds were hard at work 
adding to their nest; a strong breeze was blowing, and the waves 
would in a very short time have washed it away if it had not 
constantly been added to. On one occasion that the eggs 
were uncovered, I ran to the nest as fast as I could, but 
one of the birds came back and covered the eggs in a moment. 
Two eggs were still unhatched and one young bird was dead 
in the nest. This brood was evidently a failure ; for eight 
days afterwards, on the 13th of June, I found that a third 
nest had been built near an island about fifteen yards from the 
bank, and one of the birds was sitting upon it. Only on one 
other occasion have I ever seen the eggs left uncovered, which 
makes me think that the bird only covers her eggs when she 
is driven from the nest. I once disturbed a Dabchick and her 
young from the nest. They all dived away and disappeared in 
different directions, and when the young birds came up the 
parent swam alongside of them, and they scrambled under 
her wings, which she held up for the purpose. She then 
dived away, carrying with her the young birds, which might 
have been two or three days old." 

I can quite endorse Mr. Seebohm's opinion of the worth of 
such observations as the above, especially in the case of such 
a bird as the Little Grebe, whose habits are most difficult to 
observe closely. I spent much time in studying the habits 
of the present species in my younger days. The birds were 
common in Hampshire at Avington, where my old friend, 
Sir Edward Shelley, used to invite me to visit him every spring. 
Not only were these Grebes abundant on the Itchen and its 
adjacent water-meadows, but several pairs bred on the lakes 
close to the house. They were always visible towards evening, 
and as the sun set over the waters, their curious trilling chatter 
was sure to be heard as they swam about near the mill-pool, or 
disported themselves over the big lake. In May, when the 
Ducks were nesting, and the surface of the water became 
covered with the growing reeds, the latter were the favourite 

p 2 

212 Allen's naturalist's lidrary. 

refuge of the Grebes on the approach of danger, and their dark 
breeding-plumage effectually harmonised with their surround- 
ings, as they dived out of danger and re-appeared amidst the 
shelter of the water-plants. The bright colour on the base of 
the bill often proved the easiest mode of detecting them. 

As a rule the nest was placed on the fringe of the reed-beds 
skirting the lake, and the eggs, when first laid, were left exposed, 
or were but scantily covered. One nest which I found, with 
the full complement of eggs, was so thickly covered with wet 
water-weeds and rushes, that the eggs had to be felt for 
beneath it, and for some time I thought that the birds had 
deserted them, as they were always cold, and showed no signs 
of incubation, though day by day they became more and more 
discoloured. The constant presence of a pair of birds, how- 
ever, in the vicinity of this nest, led me to believe that it was 
not deserted, and I more than once uncovered the eggs, only to 
find the wet covering replaced on each occasion. Intent on 
finding out whether the birds re-covered the eggs on leaving the 
nest, I approached it cautiously many times, but the Grebes 
appeared to have always detected my approach, and were 
placidly swimming in the middle of the lake, as if such a thing 
as a nest was the last thing in their minds. Once, however, I 
managed to come down upon it unperceived, when one of the 
parent birds flew away in a great fright, and no possible time 
was allowed for it to cover the eggs. They were, nevertheless, 
completely hidden, not by a few rushes, such as the bird could 
scrape together in a hurry, but by a dense covering of wetted 
and rotten weeds. I came to the conclusion that, in this 
instance at least, the hatching of the eggs would be left to the 
heat of the sun and the fermentation of the material of which 
the nest was composed. That this takes place in other 
countries has been affirmed by Mr. A. O. Hume and other 
excellent observers. 

The time which the Little Grebe can spend beneath the 
surface is remarkable. I once drove one of these birds into a 
ditch about five feet wide, ending in a cul-de-sac^ and felt sure 
that I should secure it. While standing on the bank, waiting 
for the bird to appear, I was astonished to see it swimming 
below me. Having evidently discovered that there was no 
outlet at the end of the ditch, it turned beneath the water and 


swam back to the river without reappearing till it was in the 
middle of the stream. The bird must have covered at least a 
hundred yards beneath the surface, and looked like a large frog 
more than a bird. When fishing on the Thames, I have more 
than once seen these birds swimming at a considerable depth 
in the clear water below me, and have directed their onw\ard 
course with a punt-pole. 

Nest. — A gruesome mass of wet reeds and water-plants, with 
sometimes, in shallow water, a foundation of water- weeds 
reaching to the bottom. 

Eggs. — Four to six in number. Mr. Robert Read remarks : 
— " The eggs of birds taken on the Thames, when newly laid, 
are of a pure bluish-white, and become, later on, stained to a 
deep dirty yellow, but they are never of such a deep brown as 
the peat-stained eggs from some of the Scotch moorland 
lochs." Axis, i'35-i'55 inch; diam. o-95-i-i. 

Fodilymbus^ Less. Traite, i. p. 595 (1831). 
Type, P. podicipes (Linn. ). 
This American genus differs from the other Grebes which 
we have been considering, in having a remarkably stout bill, 
its depth being more than haU" of the length of the culraen. 


Colyjiibiis podicipes^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 223 (1766). 
Podilymbiis podiceps, Less.; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1881, p. 734 ^ 

Harting, Zool. 1881, p. 334; Saunders, Manual, p. 710, 

note (1889). 

Adult Male. — General colour above blackish brown : the w^ing- 
coverts rather lighter brown than the back ; quills light brown 
with dusky tips to the primaries, the secondaries white for the 
greater part of the inner web; innermost secondaries like the 
back ; tail dark brown ; crown of head and hind-neck blackish- 
brown, as also the lores ; sides of face and ear-coverts ashy- 
grey, with dusky centres to the feathers ; cheeks white with 
dusky shaft-lines, extending down to the middle of the throat 


and skirting the black chin and centre of the throat; sides of 
neck and fore-neck ashy-brown ; remainder of under surface 
white, thickly mottled with blackish centres to the feathers; 
sides of lower back and rump dark brown, with a slight reddish 
tinge, the feathers on the lower part of the abdomen darker 
grey ; under wing-coverts and axillaries w^hite : — " Bill milk- 
white, crossed past the middle by a black band, the terminal 
portion more bluish; eyelids white ; naked lores bluish; iris 
rich dark brown, with an outer ring of ochraceous white, and 
an inner thread-like ring of pure white ; tarsi and toes greenish 
slate-black on the outer, and plumbeous on the inner side" 
(/?. Ridgway). Total length, 13-0 inches; culmen, I'o; 
^ving, 5-35 ; tail, 1-5; tarsus, 1-5. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but decidedly smaller. 
Total length, iq-o inches; wing, 47. 

Winter Plumage. — Brown above, with no black on the throat, 
which is white ; otherwise as in the summer plumage, but the 
sides of the face are brown, and the lower throat, fore-neck, 
and sides of neck are rufous-brown ; " bill, horn-colour, becom- 
ing blackish basally, and on the culmen ; lower mandible 
more lilaceous, with a dusky lateral stripe ; iris of three dis- 
tinct colours, disposed in concentric rings, the first (around 
the pupil) clear milk-white, the next dark olive-brown, the 
outer pale ochraceous-brown, the dark ring reticulated into 
the lighter; tarsi and toes greenish -slate, the joints darker" 
{R. Ridgway). 

Range in Great Britain. — A specimen of this Grebe was 
exhibited by me at a meeting of the Zoological Society on 
the 2ist of June, 188 1. It w^as brought to the British 
Museum by Mr. R. W. Munro, who stated that it had been 
killed at Radipole, near Weymouth, in January, 1881. I 
took much pains to assure myself of the genuineness of the 
occurrence, and as the bird was sold to Mr. Munro as a Little 
Grebe, there does not seem to have been any attempt at 
deception. Mr. J. E. Harting, how^ever, throws doubt on it, 
as he says that the specimen " show^ed remains of longitudinal 
dark stripes on the neck, which are observable in the young 
of all the Grebes." Mr. Harting should have added that 
these dusky streaks are often retained by the young Grebes of 

RAILS. 215 

the year till January and February, so that there is nothing 
extraordinary in the Weymouth specimen still exhibiting 
such marks in January, while the fact that it is a young bird 
renders it more probable that it had lost its way. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species inhabits 
North America from Canada southwards, and extends to 
Brazil and Argentina, as well as to the West Indian 

Habits. — Similar to those of other species of Grebe. 

Nest. — A nest, found by Mr. N. B. Moore, in Florida, was 
"composed of broken stems of dog-fennel, matted together 
with a large portion of decayed and withered aquatic plants, 
presenting when found a wet, black, and soggy bed, to all 
appearances as uncomfortable a nest as ever fell to the lot of 
delicate and beautiful downy creatures such as the Httle ones 
were." (Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, Water Birds N. Amer. ii. 
p. 442.) 

Eg-gs. — Five in number. Bluish-white, with a chalky shell- 
covering, but becoming stained to a creamy-white or brown 
shade. Axis, 17 inch; diam., 1*55. 


In this order the palate is schizognathous, and the nasals 
holorhinal. The dorsal vertebrae are heterocoelous, and the 
posterior process of the ilium is sufficiently perforated to show a 
broad sacrum. The sternum has a single notch on each side 
of the posterior margin. The oil-gland is tufted and the after 
shaft is present on the contour feathers (cf. Sharpe, Cat. B. 
xxiii. p. i). 

The Rails are mostly birds of an extraordinary slimness of 
body, and, as a rule, they are great skulkers, never venturing 
into the open unless driven out from their hiding places. This 
is especially true of the Water-Rails and Crakes, many of the 
tropical members of these groups being almost, or quite, 
incapable of flight. 



The characters of this family are the same as those of the 
order, and the Rallidai are divisible into two sub-families, the 
Rallince and tlie Coots or Fuliciiim. 

The latter birds are recognised by their lobed toes, which 
somewhat resemble those of Grebes, and it is for that reason, 
and for other characters also, that I place the Ralliforines in 
close proximity to the Podicipedidiformes. 


In arranging the Rails in the twenty-third volume of the 
" Catalogue ot Birds," I found it impossible to separate them 
into more than the two sub-families above-mentioned, for the 
close connection between Rails, Crakes, and Water-hens does 
not allow of any line being draw^n between them, and the latter 
approach the Coots in appearance and habits, but have not the 
lobed toes, which seem to constitute a character of importance. 


Rallus^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 261 (1766). 

Type, R. aquaticus, Linn. 

In this genus the bill is very long and narrow, with a deep 

and well-marked nasal groove, the culmen generally exceeding 

the length of the middle toe and claw, or at least equal to it in 

fully grown birds. The tarsus is shorter than the middle toe 

and claw. The nasal aperture is situated nearer to the feathers 

at the base of the bill than to the anterior end of the nasal 



Ralhis aquaticus^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 262 ([766); Macgill. 
Brit. B. iv. p. 521 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 257, 
pi. 495 (1878); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 146 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 159 (1883); 
Seebohm. Hist Brit. B. ii. p. 552 (1884); Saunders, 



!i, V 



Man. Brit. B. p. 501 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. 
part XX. (1891); SharpC; Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxiii. p. 20 

{Plate CXVI.) 

Adult Male in Summer Plumage. — General colour above olive- 
brown, broadly streaked with black, the feathers being all 
longitudinally centred with black, the rump more uniform 
olive-brown ; the upper tail-coverts centred with black like the 
back; wing- coverts and inner secondaries like the back; the 
outer coverts, bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and wing blackish- 
brown, quite uniform, or slightly washed with olive externally ; 
the first primary pale brown along the outer web ; tail-feathers 
blackish, externally olive-brown; crown of head and hind-neck 
like the back, more minutely streaked with black ; a broad 
eyebrow, sides of face, and under surface of body dark slaty 
grey, with a slight dusky shade on the lores and region of the 
eye ; throat and fore-neck rather lighter grey than the breast ; 
sides of upper breast olive-brown, centred with black like the 
back ; flanks and sides of vent black, transversely barred with 
white; lower abdomen and vent isabelline buff; under tail- 
coverts black, barred with white and tipped with isabelline 
buff, the lateral under tail-coverts white; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries black, barred and edged with white ; quills ashy- 
blackish below. Total length, 11 inches; culmen, 17; wing, 
4'9 ; tail, 2*3; tarsus, i*5. 

Adult Female.— Similar to the male, but rather smaller; bill 
above nostril very dark brown, below nostril and lower man- 
dible orange-red ; feet light fleshy brown ; iris orange-red. 
Total length, 9-5 inches; wing, 4-2. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — Similar to the summer plumage, 
but decidedly browner ; the under parts freckled with light 
brown edges to the feathers, each margin preceded by a dusky 
sub-terminal line ; the lower flanks and thighs strongly washed 
with fulvous brown ; the outer upper wing- coverts with zig-zag 
white bars ; throat whitish. 

Young. — Similar to the winter plumage of the adults, but 
with a whiter throat, and the whole of the centre of the breast 
and abdomen whitish, slightly washed with brown, and with 

2i8 Allen's naturallst's library. 

obscure dusky bars; outer wingcoverts with narrow white 

Nestling". — Covered with black down. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Water- Rail nests in nearly every 
county of England, Wales, and Scotland, where suitable locali- 
ties exist. It is rarer in the latter kingdom, and breeds 
sparsely, but Mr. Robert Read has recorded its eggs from 
Fossil Marsh, near Glasgow. In Ireland, Mr. Ussher says that 
it is reported to nest in every county. A considerable migra- 
tion southward appears to take place in winter ; but the species 
has been known to stay during the latter season in the Shet- 
land s. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is resi- 
dent and breeds in most of the countries of Europe, excepting 
the extreme northern parts, being resident in Norway near 
Bergen, and ranging nearly up to the Arctic circle, while it 
has also occurred on Jan-Mayen, and is believed to be resident 
in Iceland. Its eastward range extends to Turkestan and 
Afghanistan, and it visits North-western India in the winter, 
occurring as far east as the Nepal Terai. In Eastern Siberia, 
Japan, and Chinn, R. indicus takes its place, and this species 
migrates south, visiting Southern China, and the Burmese 
Provinces, and extending west to the district of Calcutta and 
to Oudh. 

Habits. — The Water-Rail, like most of its relations, is a very 
shy bird, and one whose habits are most difficult to study in 
consequence. It takes flight most unwillingly, and trusts to 
its legs for safety. Even in the thickest of brakes it can twist 
and turn with great rapidity, while its peculiarly compressed and 
slender body enables it to thread its way through the grass and 
rushes at a high rate of speed. One which I shot at x\vington, 
in November, gave me a lot of trouble to secure. Our party 
was returning from duck-shooting in the water meadows, when 
I saw the retriever running along the side of a hedge-row, with 
a deep ditch of water on the side nearest to me. I crept up, 
thinking that he w\is after a wounded Duck, but for some time I 
could see nothing of his quarry. At last I could make out 


something like a rat darting out from under the roots of a 
bush, and apparently making for the river. When the dog 
approached its hiding-place again, the Rail, as I now perceived 
it to be, instead of taking to flight and putting the Itchen 
between it and its pursuer, deliberately doubled, and running 
past the dog, which had an insecure foothold on the sloping 
bank, scudded some fifty yards back along the latter, and hid 
up. The retriever retraced his steps, and again drove the Rail 
towards the river, but the bird repeated its doubling manoeuvre, 
and the dog had to resume the chase again from the starting point. 
At last the Rail took flight, and flew across the river with reluct- 
ance, with its legs hanging down, when I shot it. During the 
whole of the chase this bird uttered no sound; but the Water- 
Rail has a note, which Naumann describes as a clear, shrill, 
but melodious kreek, uttered principally during the evening 
when preparing to migrate. During the pairing season, at 
evening time, it utters a liquid ivJieet^ not unlike that of the 
Nuthach. The food of the bird consists of worms, insects, 
snails, and gnats, and it also eats the tender shoots of aquatic 
plants, or the seeds of reeds and sedge, according to 
Seebohm. Mr. Howard Saunders says that "during the 
breeding season Water-Rails are very noisy, uttering a loud 
groaning cro-o-o-an^ called ' sharming ' in Norfolk.'' 

Nest. — A nest found by Seebohm and Mr. Howard Saunders 
in the Norfolk Broads is described as being " admirably con- 
cealed. It was about a foot from the ground, but had a solid 
foundation under it, formed by the roots of the clump of rushes, 
in the midst of which it was built. It was carefully made ot 
flat sedge and the flat leaves of the reed, lined with dry broken 
pieces of round slender reeds." 

Eggs. — Five to seven in number, but sometimes as many as 
nine or eleven. Ground-colour creamy or pinkish-stone, with a 
few spots of rufous distributed over the egg, or clustering 
towards the larger end. The egg is double-spotted, the under- 
lying spots being lilac-grey, and nearly as distinct as the over- 
lying ones. As a rule the rufous spots are small, but 
occasionally they are large and form blotches towards the 
big end of the egg. Axis, r4-i"5 inch; diam,, i-o-i-o5. 



Crex, Bechstein, Orn. Taschenb. p. 336 (1802). 

Type, Crex crex (Linn.). 

All the Crakes have much shorter and stouter bills than the 

true Rails, the culmen in the genus Crex being less than the 

length of the inner toe. The tarsus is about equal in length 

to the middle toe and claw, and there is no frontal shield as in 

the Water-Hens. 

Only one species of true Crake is known, viz., the Corn- 
Crake or Land-Rail described below. 


Rallus crex, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 261 (1766). 

Crex prate7isis,V>&c\\^\.', Macgill. Brit. B. iv. p. 527(1852); 

Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 291, pi. 499 (1878); B. O. U. 

List. Brit. B. p. 149 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. 

B. iii. p. 157 (1883); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 535 

(1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 493 (1889). 
Crex crex, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit, xxiii. p. 82 (1894). 

{.Plate CXVII.) 

Adult Male in Summer Plumage. — General colour above brown, 
mottled with black centres to the feathers, which have more 
or less of an ashy shade on their margins ; scapulars 
like the back, with broad black centres; wing-coverts uni- 
form bright chestnut ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts and 
quills chestnut brown, the first primary externally isabel- 
line buff, the inner secondaries Uke the back, with black 
centres, and indistinguishable from the scapulars ; tail- 
feathers light reddish-brown, centred with black; crown of head 
fulvous brown, mottled with black centres to the feathers, the 
two colours arranged in streaks ; hind-neck and sides of neck 
fulvous brown, with smaller blackish-brown spots ; lores and 
feathers below the eye, as well as a band along the upper ear- 
coverts to the sides of the neck sandy-buff; above the eye a 
band of ashy-grey, widening towards the sides of the nape ; 
ear-coverts, cheeks, lower throat, fore-neck, and chest ashy- 
grey ; the chin and upper throat isabelline ; breast and 

^ ^ 

''' *J?^ 


abdomen isabelline, as well as the upper tail-coverts ; sides of 
upper breast brown, with a few white bars ; flanks sandy- 
rufous or rufous-brown, the feathers tipped and barred with 
isabelline or whitish ; sides of vent barred with darker brown , 
thighs sandy-rufous; shorter under tail-coverts barred \\ith 
rufous and brown ; under wing-coverts and axillaries bright 
chestnut ; quills below brown, rufescent along the inner edge ; 
bill, feet, and claws pale brown ; iris hazel. Total length, 
lo inches; culmen, o"85 ; wing, 5*6; tail, i"9; tarsus, i'45. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, and having the same grey 
on the eyebrow, face, and breast. Total length, 9 inches ; 
wing, 5-2. 

Adult in Winter Plumage. — As in summer, but instead of the 
grey on the eyebrow, sides of face, and breast, these parts are 
all ochreous brown, and the sides of the body are decidedly 
more rufescent, with distinct and broad bars of black on the 
flanks and under tail-coverts ; the wing-coverts also have 
distinct whitish bars, particularly on the greater series, where 
these bars have blackish or dusky margins. 

Young after First Moult. — Similar to the winter plumage of 
the adults, and lacking the grey on the face and breast, and 
having the sides of the body nearly uniform tawny, with a few 
dusky bars and whitish tips to the feathers. 

Nestling. — Covered with black down. 

Range in Great Britain. — This Rail is found throughout the 
British Islands from the south to the north, including the 
Hebrides, the Orkneys, and Shetlands. In Ireland, Mr. 
Ussher says it breeds commonly in every part except the 
mountains, nesting even in some of the islands, such as 
Innishbofin. In the home counties of England, however, there 
is a decided decrease in the number of Land-Rails every 
summer, which it is difficult to account for. At Cookham, for 
instance, in the Thames valley, the bird seldom visits us, 
though the hay-fields are the same and its haunts absolutely 
unchanged from the days when it was always present, thirty 
years ago. I am speaking of my brother-in-law's estate, in 
which no change has taken place. In the neighbourhood of 
London, no doubt, the vast increase of building must account 


for the driving away of this shy bird from some of its old 

Range outside ttie British Islands. — Tiie Land-Rail is dis- 
tributed over the greater part of Europe and Asia as far east 
as the Valley of the Yenesei, and that of the Lena, breeding 
also in Western Turkestan. On migration it passes through 
the countries of Southern Europe, but Mr. Saunders believes 
that it does not breed south of the line of the Pyrenees. Its 
winter quarters are in Africa, and at this season of the year it 
also wanders to Arabia and the shores of the Persian Gulf. 
The Land-Rail has also been met with in Greenland and the 
Eastern United States, and in the Bermudas. 

Habits. — The Land-Rail or Corn-Crake is a familiar inhabi- 
tant of our pasture-lands in summer, where its grating and 
monotonous creak-creak is heard, especially towards evening, 
and long after darkness has set in. Its cry is distinctly ventri- 
loquial, and Mr. Howard Saunders considers that this is due 
" to the marvellous rapidity with which it sneaks, unperceived, 
from one spot to another." I have not myself observed this ; 
but, on the contrary, I believe that, like the notes of the 
Creeper or the Grasshopper Warbler, the utterance of the 
Corn-Crake's note has that ventriloquial power that makes its 
cry sound far or near. I remember, on one occasion, making 
my way into one of our own fields of high grass at Cookham in 
search of one of these birds at night, and when within ten 
yards of the Crake, its note sounded from all points of the 
compass around me ; but I stopped still, refusing to be deluded 
by its ventriloquism, until I crept to the spot whence 
I was sure that the sounds proceeded, and at last I managed 
to approach so close above it that I almost succeeded in catch- 
ing it before it scented danger and scuttled away. My old 
friend Briggs, the Cookham naturalist, who first taught me to 
skin birds, and with whom Mr. Howard Saunders and myself 
have had many a ramble, used to pride himself on being able 
to track Land-Rails in the grass, and I remember on one occa- 
sion walking with him in the meadows opposite the Cliefden 
Woods, when we heard the creak of one of these Rails close 
to us in a ha5'-fiel(l. He not only walked straight to where the 
bird was, but as it flew up, he threw his walking-stick at it And 


knocked it down close to the river's edge, when the bird took 
to the water and swam right across to the other side of the 

The food of the Corn-Crake is varied, and consists of worms, 
slugs, snails, small lizards, and also of seeds and plants. 

Nest. — A simple structure of dry grass and plants, placed on 
the ground. 

Eggs. — From seven to ten in number. Ground-colour 
varying from stone grey to greenish-white or buffish clay-colour, 
with numerous dots and spots of rufous distributed over the 
egg, the underlying grey spots very distinct and equally 
distributed. Sometimes the rufous markings collect round the 
large end of the egg and form a blotch ; but in many eggs, 
particularly of the stone-coloured type, the spots are more 
scattered and universally distributed over the surface. Axis, 
i-4-i'55 inch; diam., ro-i'i. 


Zapornia, Leach, Syst. Cat. Mamm. & Birds, Brit. Mus. p. 34 

Type, Z. parva (Scop.). 

The small Crakes of the genera Zapornia and Forza?ia 
differ from the true Crakes {Crex) in their long middle toe, 
which, with the claw, exceeds the tarsus in length. The sexes 
in the genus Zapornia differ in colour, and the secondaries are 
conspicuously shorter than the primaries, falling short of them 
by as much as the length of the inner toe and claw, so that the 
wing is decidedly pointed in shape for a Crake. 


Rallus parvus, Scop. Ann. i. p. 108 (1769). 

Crex piisilla (nee Pall.), Macgill Brit. B. iv. p. 541 (1852). 

Porzana parva, Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 283, pi. 498 (1878) ; 

B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 148 (1883); Saunders, cd. 

Yarrdl's Brit. B. iii. p. 148 (18S3); id. Man. Brit. B, 

p. 497 (1889). 


Crex parva, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 457 ([£84). 
Zapornia parva, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. JNIus. xxiii. p. 89 (1894). 

AdiQt Male in Breeding Plumage. — General colour above 
ochreous brown, varied with black centres to the feathers and 
a few white spots ; the scapulars and innermost secondaries 
ochreous brown with blacl<: centres, the latter pale ochreous 
along their inner webs, forming a longitudinal band on each 
side of the back ; the rest of the wing-coverts nearly uniform 
brown ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills sepia-brown ; 
lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts darker and with 
more black than the rest of the back, the feathers being black 
edged with brown ; tail-feathers also black edged with brown ; 
hinder crown uniform reddish-brown, like the hind-neck ; fore- 
head, a broad eyebrow, sides of face, and entire under 
surface of body hght slaty-grey; sides of breast ochreous 
brown, like the sides of the neck ; flanks almost entirely 
uniform, excepting for a few white bars, and dusky on the 
lower thighs and vent ; under tail-coveits white, washed with 
ochreous and crossed with blackish bars ; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries uniform brov\ n, like the quill-lining ; bill green 
tinged with red at the base; legs and feet green; iris deep 
carmine. Total length, 7 inches; culmen, 07 ; wing, 4; tail, 
2 ; tarsus, i"i5 ; middle toe and claw, i'6. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male on the upper surface, 
but a little more olive, the brown colour of the head extending 
in a narrow line to the base of the bill ; lores hoary-grey ; 
sides of face and a broad eyebrow grey ; a faint tinge of brown 
on the ear-coverts ; cheeks and throat white ; remainder of 
under surface, from the fore-neck downwards, pale vinaceous 
isabelline ; thighs clear ashy, as also the lower flanks, which 
have dusky bars and white edges to the feathers ; vent and 
under tail-coverts barred with black and white, the latter 
tinged with ochreous buff. Total length, 7 inches ; wing, 

Young. — Similar in general to the adult female, but having 
the scapulars mottled with white bars ; under-surface of 
body entirely white, as also the sides of face and eyebrow ; the 
breast more or less varied with the remains of dusky edgings 
to the feathers ; the thighs distinctly banded with brown and 



white ; the greater coverts, primary-coverts, and quills with 
more or less distinct white spots at the tips. 

Nestling. — " Covered with black down with a greenish gloss ; 
legs bluish-grey " ( IF. Eagle Clarke). 

Range in Great Britain. — A spring and autumn visitor to our 
islands. No authentic instance of its having bred in England 
has been noted. Though it has been recorded from many 
counties, and especially from Norfolk, in Scotland and in 
Ireland the species has occurred but once. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Little Crake breeds 
throughout Central Europe and Russia, and is believed to 
have nested in Southern Sweden. In Italy it also breeds, but 
in other parts of the Mediterranean it is only known as a 
migrant, though resident again in Algeria. Its eastern range 
extends to Central Asia and Afghanistan, and it winters in 
North- Western India and in Equatorial Africa. 

Habits. — Mr. A. O. Hum.e thus describes the habits of the 
Little Crake in Sind : — '' I never flushed these birds out of 
sedge or reed, but found them everywhere running about over 
the lotus and water-Hly leaves, or swimming about from leaf to 
leaf, and exhibiting far less timidity than Baillon's Crake. 
Like the latter, they look when in the water exactly like tiny 
Water-hens, jerking their tails and nodding their heads exactly 
like the latter. One thing I noticed in this species which I 
never observed in either of the others — I saw one bird volun- 
tarily diving several times, apparently in search of food. The 
others will dive when a shot is suddenly fired near them, or 
when they are wounded, but this bird was deliberately diving 
for its own amusement. When pressed, they rise more 
steadily and fly more strongly than Baillon's Crake, taking 
refuge in the thickets of tamarisk that fringe the broads, and 
are studded about most of them as islands. The food of 
this species seems to consist far more exclusively of insects 
than that of Baillon's Crake. In more than a dozen specimens 
which I examined, the stomachs contained water-bugs and 
beetles, small insects of all kinds, and larvae of various, and to 
me quite unknown, species, with here and there a i&w small 
black seeds and a trace of vegetable matter. Of course, as is 

2 26 Allen's naturalist's library. 

the case with Baillon's Crake, there were a good many minute 
pebbles or fragments of quartz, coarse sand in fact, mixed with 
the food, in the triturition of which it no doubt forms an 
important part." 

Nest. — Mr. Eagle Clarke found the nest of this species in 
Slavonia, in an extensive and particularly secluded shallow 
marsh near the village of Obrez. The surface of the marsh 
was clothed with sallow-brakes, reed-beds, and areas covered 
with tussocks of sedge. The nest, containing seven eggs, was 
placed on the side, not in the centre, of one of these tussocks 
of medium size. It was merely a depression, amply lined with 
short broad pieces of withered reed blades, and was about six 
inches above the surface of the water, which was here about 
eighteen inches deep. 

Eg-gs. — Seven or eight in number. Ground-colour pale 
olive, flecked with brown; oval in shape. Axis, i"i inch; 
diam., 0*85. 


Forzana^ Vieillot, Analyse, p. 61 (1816). 

Type, P.porzafia (Linn.). 

The genus Porzana resembles Zapornia in having the tarsus 

shorter than the middle toe and claw, but the shape of the 

wings is different. The secondary quills fall short of the 

primaries by as much as the length of the hind toe and claw, 

and they are consequently more rounded than in Zapomia. 

The sexes are alike in plumage. 


RalliLS porzana, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 262 (1766). 

Crex porzana^ ^lacgill Brit. B. iv. p. 535 (1852); Seebohm, 

Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 540 (1884). 
Porzana marnetta, Bp. ; Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 267, pi. 496 

(1878); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 147 (1883); Saunders, 

ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 143 (1884); id. Man. Brit B. 

p. 495 (1889). 
Porzana porzana, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxiii. p. 93 


{Plate CXVIII.) 



/' '■ 


Adult Male in Winter Plumage. — General colour above olive- 
brown, mottled with white and black markings, the white 
being distributed in the form of lateral spots on the dorsal 
feathers, and on the scapulars and wing-coverts in the form 
of arrow-head spots or bars, which are margined with black; 
all the feathers of the upper surface with more or less con- 
cealed black centres; wing-coverts rather lighter brown than 
the back, the white spots somewhat less plentifully distributed, 
excepting on the greater series and innermost secondaries, 
where the white bars with their accompanying black lines 
are very distinct and somewhat zig-zag in character on the 
latter ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills sepia-brown, 
externally whitish-brown, with a white edging to the first 
primary and outer feathers of the bastard-wing ; the inner- 
most secondaries paler and more sandy-brown along their 
inner webs ; lower back black, with a few small white mark- 
ings; rump and upper tail-coverts olive-brown, centred with 
black, the lateral feathers rather conspicuously barred and 
edged with white ; tail-feathers dark brown, externally lighter 
brown ; crown of head olive-brown, the feathers spotted with 
black like the back ; forehead and eyebrow slaty-grey, the 
latter profusely dotted with white ; a narrow line at the base of 
the forehead and a loral spot black, extending below the eye 
and on the fore part of the cheeks ; above the lores a faintly 
indicated spot of white ; cheeks and throat slaty-grey, dotted 
with white ; ear-coverts uniform brown, extending on to the 
sides of the neck ; neck, fore-neck, breast, and sides of body 
everywhere spotted with white, which takes the form of cross- 
bars on the sides of the body, each white bar skirted by a 
narrow blackish bar above and below; the chest and upper 
breast shaded with ashy ; lower breast and abdomen white, 
shading off into sandy-buff on the vent and under tail-coverts ; 
lesser under wing-coverts and edge of wing conspicuously 
white; remainder of under wing-coverts and axillaries dusky 
brown barred with white, resembling the flanks ; quills dusky 
below; bill yellow, orange-red at base, dusky on the culmen 
and at the tip ; legs and feet green ; iris brown. Total length, 
9 inches; culmen, 0-85; wing, 4'85 ; tail, 17; tarsus, i"3; 
middle toe and claw, 1.7. 

Adult Female. — Differs from the male in having the sides of 

Q 2 


the face more mottled, the breast and throat apparently never 
so uniform grey as in the male. 

Adult in Summer Plumage. — Very similar to the winter plum- 
age, but not so distinctly varied with white above ; the white 
dots also absent for the most part on the eyebrow, sides of 
neck, throat, and breast, which are almost uniformly grey, the 
latter slightly washed with brown. 

Young. — Easily distinguished from the adults by its white 
throat and more profusely spotted appearance. The streaks on 
the back are also very distinct, as a rule. The adult plumage 
appears to me to be gained without a moult, the grey colour 
being gradually assumed as the spring advances ; but I have 
not had a sufficient series to determine accurately the various 
phases through which the species passes. The young bird has 
the brown of the head continued to the base of the forehead. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Spotted Crake, like so many 
marsh-haunting birds, is rarer than it used to be before the 
draining of the fen-lands. It is a summer visitor, nesting in 
several of the southern counties of England, as well as in the 
eastern counties as far north as Durham and Northumberland. 
On the east side of Scotland, says Mr. Saunders, it has nested 
as far north as Elgin, while en migration it has occurred in the 
Orkneys, and twice in the Shetlands (in October) ; on the west 
it has bred in Dumbartonshire, but has not yet been recorded 
north of the Clyde. Mr. Ussher states that three eggs of this 
species taken in Roscommon are in tlie Science and Art Museum 
in Dublin ; and he says that, " though no other instance of the 
nest having been taken in Ireland has been recorded, the 
Spotted Crake probably breeds occasionally, for Mr. 
Barton met with the species in Louth, in August. A pair were 
shot in Queen's County by Mr. T. Trench, in August, t88o, 
and another pair in Fermanagh, by Mr. George Husbands, in 
the summer or early autumn of 1890. Thompson noted a 
young bird obtained in August by Mr. Chute, in Kerry, which 
exhibited remains of down." 

Rang-e outside the British Islands. — The present species nests 
throughout the greater part of Europe, up to about 65° N. Lat. 


in Scandinavia. Eastwards it ranges as far as Yarkand and Gilgit 
in summer, and in winter it is found throughout the southern 
border of the Mediterranean, as far as Abyssinia, as well as in 
the Persian Gulf, and Northern India, from Sind to Oudh and 
Calcutta. It has twice occurred in Greenland. 

Habits. — Like all Rails, the Spotted Crake is a bird of the 
most skulking habits, and on migration it will sometimes be 
found in litde reed-covered pools, from which it may sometimes 
be flushed by a dog, when its presence is least suspected. In 
such manner I have procured a few specimens in the Thames 
valley, near Cookham. Seebohm obtained a large number of 
eggs of this bird at Valkensvaard, in Holland. He writes as 
follows : — " The habits of the Spotted Crake are precisely the 
same as those of the Water-Rail, to which bird it otherwise 
bears so close a resemblance that it is difficult to believe that 
the two birds ought to be placed in different genera. They are 
both equally shy and skulking ; they frequent the same fenny and 
marshy districts ; one is as unsociable as the other, and as un- 
willing to take wing; their flight is the same — a heavy, laboured, 
straight flight through the air, with rapid beats of the broad 
rounded wings. The note during the breeding season is the 
same liquid 7£'h'^, though that of the smaller bird is not so loud ; 
and the position of the nest and the materials of which it is 
composed are so similar that a description of one reads like a 
copy of that of the other." 

Nest. — Large fox the size of the bird, built in clumps of rushes 
or amongst reeds. Those found by Seebohm in Holland 
stood nearly a foot above the level of the water, and were com- 
posed of flat leaves of the reed, sedge, and other water-plants, 
and generally, when built in the reeds, had a foundation of flat 
broken rushes. 

Eggs. — -From eight to twelve in number. Ground-colour 
olive or clay-brown to reddish clay-colour, or chocolate. The 
spots are light or dark reddish-brown, and are distributed 
over the egg; the underlying grey spots mixed up with the 
darker ones, and sometimes quite as distinct as the latter. In 
rare instances the reddish spots are confluent, and form 
blotches. Axis, i"35-i'5 inch; diam., o-95-i-o5. 



Rallus Carolina, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 363 (1766). 

Porzana Carolina^ B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 147 (1883); 

Saunders, Manual Brit. B. p. 496, note (1889) ; Sharpe, 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxiii. p. 97 (1894). 
Crex Carolina, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 541 (1884). 

Adult Male. — General colour above olivaceous brown, varied 
with black centres and white margins to the feathers ; the 
lower back and rump darker, the black centres to the feathers 
being more pronounced; wing-coverts for the most part uniform 
olivaceous brown, with white spots and freckles on the greater 
series ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills, dusky-brown, 
externally olivaceous brown, the bastard-wing feathers and outer 
primary edged with white ; the innermost secondaries centred 
with black and edged with white like the back ; tail-feathers 
olivaceous brown, with blackish centres ; crown of head and 
neck more rufous brown than the back, and more uniform ; 
forehead and centre of crown black, as well as the lores, fore 
part of cheeks, and centre of throat and fore- neck; a narrow 
eyebrow, sides of face, sides of neck, and chest ashy-grey; 
breast white, the lower flanks barred with black ; the sides of 
the body brown, barred with white, each white bar with a 
narrow border-line of black ; thighs brown ; under tail-coverts 
white, the vent tinged with fulvous ; under wing-coverts brown, 
edged with white like the edge of the wing ; axillaries brown, 
distinctly barred with white ; bill yellow at base, dusky towards 
the end ; feet yellowish-green ; claws light brown ; iris bright 
chestnut. Total length, 8*0 inches; culmen, 0*9 ; wing, 4*3; 
tail, 1-9; tarsus, 1.45 ; middle toe and claw, 175. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male in colour. Total length, 
8-0 inches; wing, 4*25. 

Young. — Upper surface resembling that of the adult, but the 
under surface for the most part white ; the lower throat and 
fore-neck, sandy-buff; the under tail-coverts light tawny buff; 
sides of the breast brown, and the flanks black, both barred 
across with white ; lores and sides of face ashy-brown ; a 
supra-loral streak, eyebrow, and cheeks sa'^ly buff. 


The adult plumage is gained in the first winter, but the grey 
feathers of the neck still retain brownish margins. 

Characters. — The Carolina Crake differs from our Spotted 
Crake in having the fore part of the cheeks, lores, and centre 
of the throat, black ; the inner web of the innermost 
secondaries is like the rest of the quills, and is merely fringed 
with white. In P. porzana it is light fulvous brown. 

Range in Great Britain. — A single specimen of this North 
American species has been shot near Newbury in Berkshire ; 
it was exhibited by Professor Newton to a meeting of the 
Zoological Society on the 14th of February, 1865. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Carolina Crake is 
found in summer throughout temperate North America, and it 
winters in Central America, the West Indies^ and the Northern 
provinces of South America. 

Habits. — Dr. Brewer publishes the following interesting 
note * on the habits of the present species in the " Water- Birds 
of North America " : — 

"Early in August, when the reeds have attaii cd their full 
growth, the *Sora Rail' resorts to them in great numbers to feed 
on the seeds, of which it is very fond. This reed (the Zizania 
clavulosa of Michaux) grows up from the soft muddy shores of 
the tide-water, where the surface is alternately bare and covered 
with four or five feet of water, and attains a height of ten feet, 
covering tracts of many acres in extent, the stalks growing so 
closely together that a boat, excepting at high water, can 
hardly make its way through them. The seed of this plant is 
long and slender, white in colour, sweet to the taste and very 
nutritious. When the reeds are in fruit, the Rails, in great 
numbers, take possession of them. At this season, a person 
walking along the banks of the river may hear their cries in 
every direction. If a stone is thrown among the reeds, there 
is a general outcry, and a reiterated kuk-kuk-kuk, like the 
scream of a Guinea Fowl. Any sudden noise produces the 
same effect. None of the birds, however, can be seen except 
at high water ; and when the tide is low, they keep secreted, 

* Taken from Doughty's "Cabinet of Natural History." 


and a man may walk where there are hundreds of them 
without seeing a single one." 

Nest. — Usually a mere collection of decayed moss and 
coarse grass, loosely aggregated, and net admitting of removal 
as a nest. {Brewer.) 

Eggs. — From seven to twelve or even fourteen in number. 
Clay- colour, with scattered reddish spots and grey underlying 
ones. Axis, i"2-i-3 inches; diam., 0-95. 

in. baillon's crake, porzana intermedia. 
Rallus intermedtus, Hermann, Obs. Zool. i. p. 198 (1804). 
Crex baillo7ii, Boie ; Macgill. Brit. B. iv. p. 539 (1852); 

Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 543 (1884); Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Brit. B. part xx. (1891). 
Porzana baiilofti, Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 275, pi. 497 (1878); 

B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 143 (1883); Saimders, ed. 

Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 154 (1883); id. Man. Brit. B. 

p. 499 (1889). 
Porzana intenncdia., Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxiii. p. 103 

Adult Male. — General colour above dark ochreous-brown, 
with black centres to nearly all the feathers, which are marked 
with white spots and freckled with black ; lower back black, 
freckled with white, but only slightly washed with ochreous- 
brown ; upper tail-coverts ochreous-brown with black centres ; 
lesser and median wing-coverts uniform ochreous-brown, like 
the back, the greater series with blackish centres and white 
frecklings ; the innermost secondaries like the back, with 
broad black centres, the inner webs pale ochreous-brown, 
thereby forming a broad longitudinal band on each side of 
the back ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills sepia- 
brown, the edges of the bastard-wing feathers and the hrst 
primary white ; tail-feathers blackish, edged with dark 
ochreous-brown ; centre of cro'^i'n and hind-neck dark 
ochreous or reddish-brown, only feebly streaked with black 
centres to the feathers ; forehead and a broad eyebrow, as 
well as the entire sides of face, throat, and breast, clear slaty- 
grey ; abdomen, flanks, and thighs blackish, mottled with 
white bars ; under tail-coverts deep black, barred with white ; 

baillon's crake. 2^'^ 

under wing-coverts and axillaries dusky-brown, with a few 
white spots and bars ; quills dusky below ; bill green, darker 
at tip ; legs, feet, and claws olive ; iris crimson. Total length, 
7 inches; culmen, o 75 ; wing, 3-5 ; tail, 175 ; tarsus, 1-05 ; 
middle toe and claw, 1-5. 

Winter Plumage. — Appears to have a whiter throat than in 
summer, and in all probability the entire throat gradually 
becomes slaty-grey as the breeding season approaches ; bill 
grass green, the culmen dusky ; tarsi and toes greenish; iris 
reddish orange. 

Young. — Is like the adult on the upper surface, and is 
similarly marked with black and white, but the general tone of 
the plumage is rather more rufous ; the head is like the back ; 
sides of the face rufous-brown, as also the eyebrow ; lores 
whitish; throat, breast, and abdomen dull white; the fore- 
neck and chest rufescent, barred across with dusky ; lower 
flanks, vent, and under tail-coverts black, barred widi white ; 
iris light ashy-brown. 

The young birds probably do not attain their full grey 
plumage for at least a year, as a specimen (in the British 
Museum), procured near Potchefstroom on the 24th of April, 
is still in immature plumage, like the young bird above 
described, and differs only in the whiter under surface, the 
fore-neck and chest alone retaining some remains of rufous 
shading and dusky bars. The eyebrows are whitish and more 
distinct. If this bird was going to moult into the grey 
plumage before its return to Europe, the change must be very 
rapidly performed. 

Nestling. — "Shiny black, w^th a yellowish bill and legs of a 
greenish slate-colour " ( IV. C. Tait). 

Cliaxacters. — -In the foregoing species the axillaries are 
barred with white. In Baillon's Crake they are uniform. 
The back is freckled and spotted with white, as arfe the wing- 
coverts in a less degree. The ear-coverts are bluish-grey or 

Range in Great Britain. — ^A visitor in spring and autumn, 
principally to our southern counties, though it has been 
captured in Derbyshire and Yorkshire. It has also occurred 

234 Allen's naturalist's library. 

in the Isle of Man, twice in Scotland, and twice in Ireland. 
It probably breeds occasionally in England, as two nests, 
apparently of this species, were found in Cambridgeshire in 
1858, and two more in Norfolk in 1866. 

Range outside the British Islands. — Baillon's Crake appears 
to be somewhat irregularly distributed throughout Central and 
Southern Europe, as it is not known from the Baltic Provinces 
or Poland, but it extends (in winter, probably) to the Persian 
Gulf, being replaced in Eastern Siberia, India, and China by 
the allied species, P. piisilla. It occurs in suitable localities 
throughout Africa, and the place from which I have seen the 
greatest number of specimens is Madagascar. 

Habits. — The habits of Baillon's Crake resemble those of its 
congeners, but, from its small size, it is even more difficult of 

Nest. — Small, made of rushes and reeds. 

Eggs. — Six to eight in number. Olive brown, mottled with 
reddish-brown, and dull grey underlying spots, the latter not 
much in evidence. The mottling is obscure, and some eggs 
appear almost uniform olive or reddish-brown. Axis, i'i-i'2 
inch ; diam., o75-o"9. 


Gallimila, Briss, Orn. vi. p. 3 (1760). 

Type, G. chloropus (Linn.). 

The Water-Hens are distinguished by their red frontal 

shield, the plumage being sombre and generally blackish. 

The toes are long, the middle one and its claw exceeding the 

tarsus in length ; they have a narrow lateral membrane, but 

do not have a scalloped lobe like the Coots. The secondaries 

are decidedly shorter than the primaries. The nostrils are 

oval, and situated in a distinct nasal depression. 


Fulica chloropus^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 258 (1766). 

I|P,':1:;' ll 

MOOR-HEN. 235 

Gallumla chloropus^ Macgill. Brit. B. iv^. p. 547 (1852) ; 
Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 313, pi. 503 (1879); B. O. U. 
List Brit. B. p. 151 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. 
B. iii. p. 164 (1883); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 557 
(1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 503 (1889); Lilford, 
Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xix. (1891); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. 
Mus. xxiii. p. 171 (1894). 

{Plate CXIX.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above dark olive-brown, with 
reflections of ruddy brown ; scapulars like the back ; wing- 
coverts slightly more ashy and washed with olive-brown, 
especially towards the ends ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, 
and quills blackish-brown, externally washed with ashy-brown, 
the outer bastard wing-feathers and first primary externally 
edged with white ; the innermost secondaries more ruddy 
brown and washed with olive like the back ; tail-feathers 
blackish, with a slight wash of olive-brown ; crown of head and 
sides of face blackish, fading off into dark slaty-grey on the 
sides of the neck and hind-neck ; throat also blackish, fading 
off into dark slaty-grey, the same as the rest of the under 
surface ; the lower flanks washed with brown, the sides of the 
body broadly streaked with white, which occupies the greater 
part of the outer feathers ; abdomen more or less varied with 
white edges to the feathers ; under tail-coverts white, with the 
feathers of the vent and the long median tail-coverts black ; 
under wing-coverts and axillaries ashy-grey, tipped with white, 
the bend of the wing edged with white ; frontal shield and two- 
thirds of the bill deep lake-red, the tip of the latter greenish- 
yellow for about one-third ; legs olive-green, the broad scaling 
on the fore part of the tarsus, and the scales on the upper part 
of the toes, lemon-yellow ; joint of heel dusky olive-green, with 
a shade of lemon-yellow immediately below the garter, which is 
dark lake-red; iris reddish. Total length, 12*5 inches; 
culmen, with frontal shield, 1*55; v;ing, 7-3; tail, 2*9; tarsus, 
I '85 ; middle toe and claw, 2*95, 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male in colour, but having the 
white streaks on the flanks not quite so broad. Total length, 
11*5 inches; wing. 6 '4. 

236 ALLEN'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

Young. — Browner than the adult, the head a little more 
dusky-brown than the back ; sides of face dark brown ; throat 
white, with dusky bases to the feathers ; rest of under surface 
brown, the feathers edged with white ; abdomen entirely white ; 
the flank-stripes buffy-white and very narrow ; bill black, dull 
red along edge of tomium and on lower mandible ; legs fleshy- 
brown, darker on the tarsal joint and toes ; claws light horn- 

The young bird gains the adult plumage in the following 
spring, by the shedding of the brown or whitish margins of 
the feathers of the under surface, so that the grey plumage of 
the adult gradually supervenes. 

Eange in Great Britain. — The Moor-Hen is found all over the 
British Islands, and is resident, a slight southern migration taking 
place when severe winters reign in the north. It is equally 
widely distributed in Ireland as in England and Scotland. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is 
found over the greater part of the Old World, but does not 
range very far north, breeding sparingly in Scandinavia up to 
63° N. Lat., and in Russia as far as the S. Petersburg district. 
In China and the Indo-Malayan region the Moor-Hens are 
somewhat smaller in size, but the bird from Africa and Mada- 
gascar (so called G. pyrrhorhoa) is the same as our own 
European bird. In America an allied species of Moor-Hen 
i^G. galeatd) replaces G. chloropus^ and in Australia the latter 
species is represented by G. tenebrosa and in the Moluccas by 

Hahits. — This bird is not an inhabitant of the moors, as its 
name might seem to imply, but of our rivers, lakes and marshes, 
and the word " moor," as Mr. Saunders points out, is the 
equivalent of the old word " mire," or " marsh." A very small 
sheet of water, even a small pond, if it is sufficiently surrounded 
by rushes or studded with weeds, is enough to attract a Moor- 
Hen, and within a hundred yards of the room in which I am 
now writing at Chiswick (March, 1897), a pair of birds are 
preparing to make their nest in a neighbour's pond, where they 
have bred for several years in succession. Given a little en- 
couragement, and the Moor-Hen becomes very tame, and will 
walk about the lawn and even come close to the house for food. 


Although its principal food consists of worms, insects, and' 
seeds of plants, it is accused of eating young birds and eggs of 
other species, and I remember at least one place \\here the 
Moor-Hens were looked upon with great disfavour as devourers 
of Pheasants' and Ducks' eggs, and when Ducks or Snipe were 
absent from the water meadows, a hunt with the dogs was 
instituted after the GalHnules. These, after a little disturbance, 
would take to the trees, and on one occasion I myself shot 
eleven Moor-Hens out of one clump of willow bushes, I am. 
also certain that they occasionally roost in trees, as I have 
found them late at night in evergreens, many_ hundred yards 
from any water, when I have been moth-catching. . They 
are shy during the breeding season, but by remaining per- 
fectly still, the observer may see the pair of old birds emerge 
from the reeds, and swim about with their nestlings, the latter 
being clad in black down, the female being always most 
solicitous of the welfare of the latter, and uttering a clucking 
note as "she moves about, her white under tail-coverts being 
flirted as she swims, and the red garter above the tarsal joint 
always showing plainly. 

Nest. — Generally a rounded and firmly built structure of dry 
reed-flags and sedge, placed among the reeds on the edge of a 
pond, or on the sides of a lake or river, but occasionally built on a 
branch above the water level, and it has even been known to be 
located in a tree twenty feet above the ground. 

Egg's. — From seven to nine in number. Ground-colour, 
stone-buff to reddish clay-colour, spotted with reddish-brown ; 
these spots seldom very large, often tending to black, and in 
some specimens reduced to a sprinkling of dots. The under- 
lying spots are dark purplish-grey, and are often scarcely dis- 
tinguishable from the overlying ones. The eggs vary very 
much in shape. Axis, i'i-i*95 inches ; diam., i- 1-1-4 

--'V. Forphyrio, Briss. Orn. vi. p. 522 (1760). 

Type, P. porphyi-io (Linn.). 
These large and brightly-coloured Rails differ in their horny 
bills, which are very deep, and have no nasal depression, but 

238 Allen's naturalist's library. 

have rounded no-trils They are birds of tropical countries, being 
found from the Mediterranean eastwards to India, nnd as far 
as Australia and New Zealand. Two species, the Green-backed 
Gallinule, P. porphyrio of Africa, and the Purple Gallinule, P. 
cceruleus of the Mediterranean countries, have been recorded as 
having been captured in England ; but as they are both species 
which are often kept in captivity in this country, there is no 
reason to believe that the specimens were otherwise than es- 
caped birds, as neither of them are likely to migrate, or be 
driven, from their swampy fastnesses. 

The eggs of P. porphyrio are larger than those of a Moor- 
Hen, but otherwise resembles them. 


These birds are like great Moor-Hens, but are distinguished 
from them, and from the other Rails, by the scalloped lobes on 
the toes. There is generally a white or reddish shield on the 
forehead, and the bill, in some of the exotic species, partakes 
of the bright colours of the shields. 

The Coots are found over nearly every part of the Old and 
New Worlds, and are strongly represented in South America, 
where they attain their largest size. 


Fulica atra, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 257 (1766); Macgill. Brit B. 
iv. p. 560 (1852) ; Dresser, B, Eur. vii. p. 327, pi. 504, 
fig. 2 (1879); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 151 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 171 (1883); Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 564(1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 
p. 505 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxi. (1895); 
Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxiii. p. 211 (1894). 

[Plate CXX.) 

Adult Male. — General colour above cindery-grey with a slight 
olive shade on the back ; wing-coverts also cindery-grey, the 
outer feathers of the bastard-wmg edged with white ; quills 
ashy-brown wtth dusky tips, the first primary inclining to whity- 
brown on the outer web : the outer secondaries whitish at the 


ends ; the innermost secondaries washed with cindery-grey Hke 
the back ; tail black ; head, hind-neck, and throat black ; 
remainder of under surface of body light slaty-grey, with slight 
remains of ashy margins to the feathers of the chest and centre 
of the breast ; under wing-coverts slaty-grey, with a Une of white 
feathers round the bend of the wing ; under tail-coverts black ; 
bill very pale lavender, with a pinkish tinge; frontal shield 
ivory-white ; tarsi and feet pearly-grey, with a greenish tinge on 
the sides of the tarsus ; garter orange-yellow ; iris dark brown. 
Total length, 14*5 inches ; culmen, from base of shield, 1*35 ; 
wing, 8-6; tail, 2-2 ; tarsus, 1-3 ; middle toe and claw, 3.85. 

Adult Female. — Similar in plumage to the male, but slightly 
smaller. Total length, 14 inches; wing, 8"i. 

Young. — Much browner than the adult, the feathers of the 
head dusky black edged with white ; lores, eyebrows, and sides 
of face white ; under surface of body ashy-whitish, browner on 
the flanks. 

Nestling. — Black, with white filamentous tips to some of the 
down ; head bare. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Coot occurs everywhere from 
north to south in Great Britain, where localities suited to its 
habits are to be met with, such as large ponds, lakes, and quiet 
rivers. In some places, especially in the South of England, 
such as Slapton Ley in Devonshire, and Poole Harbour, the 
Coots appear in winter in large numbers, particularly when they 
are frozen out of their more northern haunts. In Ireland the 
species is reported to breed in every county, though it is more 
local than the Moor-Hen. 

Range outside ttie British Islands. — The Coot is found over the 
greater part of Europe and Asia, but does not range beyond the 
Mediterranean, nor further than the Indo-Malayan Islands in 
Asia. The northern range of the species extends occasionally 
to S.W. Iceland, and it has even been recorded from Greenland, 
while in Norway it nests up to 70° N. Lat. 

Habits. — The Coot prefers larger sheets of water than the 
Moor-Hen, and does not take up its abode on such small ponds 
as the last-named bird oftentimes affects. During the breeding 

2.^^^ Allen's naturalist's librarv. 

season it frequents lakes, and several nests may be found in the 
space of a few hundred yards, and at that season of the year 
the Coot is a retiring bird and keeps more to the reeds than to 
the open water. Of an evening, however, they may be seen 
slowly swimming about, when the white shield on their forehead 
renders them easily recognisable from the ]\Ioor-Hens. In the 
autumn they congregate together, and will associate with the 
Ducks on a decoy, so much so. that I have often seen a 
great many killed during a day's Duck-shooting. They trust 
to escape more by swimming under the overhanging branches of 
the trees and bushes than by flight, though a Coot, when once 
launched on the wing, is a powerful flier. In the winter vast 
numbers used to congregate in Pagham Harbour, and the same 
may be said of Poole Harbour. 

■ Nest. — A round and compact structure of dry flags, built in 
the shallow water, near the edge of a lake, and resting on a 
foundation of reeds. The example in the Natural History 
Museum, which I took years ago on Sir Edward ■ Shelley's 
lake at Avington, was decorated with marigolds, which were 
intertwined among the flags forming the rim of the nest. 

Eggs. — From seven to ten in number, though Mr. Robert 
Reed tells me that eight is the largest number he has ever found 
in a Coot's nest. Ground-colour stone-buff or pale clay-colour, 
sometimes inclining to olive, the whole of the surface minutely 
dotted with dark brown or blackish spots, the underlying spots 
being purplish-grey, and equally plentifully distributed. Axis, 
i-9-2'2 inches; diam., i'35-i*45. 


In the Pigeons the bill is schizognathous, and the nasals 
are schizorhinal, with basipterygoid processes present and 
placed medially. The primary-quills are eleven in number and 
the fifth secondary is absent. The hind-toe is connected with 
the flexor longus hallucis tendon, and not with the flexor 
peiflorans digitorum ; the two deep plantar tendons not being 
free, but united by a "vinculum." The hind-toe is on the 
same level as the others. The bill is swollen at the tip, the 
latter bemg hard and convex, while the basil portion is covered 




by a soft skin, in wiiich the nostrils open, overhung by an 
incumbent valve. (Cf. Salvadori, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxi. 

p. I.) 

Pigeons are found over the greater part of the globe, and 
they are divided by Count Salvadori into five families : 
Tre?vmdce (Fruit - Pigeons), Columbidce (True Pigeons), 
Feristeridce (Ground-Pigeons), Gouridce. (Crowned Pigeons), 
and Didunculidce (Tooth-billed Pigeons.) 


These Pigeons have a rather short tarsus, generally shorter 
than the middle toe. In this respect they show that they are 
Tree -Pigeons, as opposed to the Peristei-idce or Ground- 
Pigeons, and they have a near relationship to the Treronidce or 
Fruit- Pigeons. The latter, however, have very broad soles to 
the feet, and have from fourteen to sixteen tail-feathers, 
whereas the Colunibidce have the soles normal and not very 
broad, the hind-toe only with the skin prominently expanded 
on the sides, while the tail-feathers are twelve in number. (Cf. 
Salvadori, op. cii. p. 3). 

Count Salvadori divides the family Cohimbidm into three sub- 
families — the Coliunbince, with the tail of moderate length, not 
longer than the wings, and the Macropygiince and EctopistincBy 
in which the tail is longer than the wings. 


Columba^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 279 (1766). 

Type, C. livia (Bonn.). 

In this genus the tail is shorter than the wing, and the 

tarsus is feathered for a small extent on the upper half, but not 

for more than half its length. 

About sixty different kinds of Wood-Pigeon are known, and 
they are found in every part of the Old World, and throughout 
the New World also, except in the more northern parts. 


Coliimba palu^nbus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 282 (1766); Macgill. 
Brit. B. i. p. 259 (1837); Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 3j pl- 45^ 
15 " ^ 

242 Allen's naturalists library. 

(1878); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 138 (1883); Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. i (1883) ; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. 
B. ii. p. 396 (1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 467 
(1889); Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxi. p. 299(1893); 
Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxii. (1896). 
{Plate CXXL) 

Adult Male. — General colour above slaty-drab, the wing- 
coverts like the back, the greater series a little clearer slate- 
colour ; the outer wing-coverts of all the series white, forming 
a band round the edge of the wing ; bastard-wing and primary 
coverts slaty-black ; quills brown, externally slaty, lighter at the 
base of the outer secondaries, the primaries all edged externally 
with white ; lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts clear 
bluish-grey ; upper surface of tail bluish-grey, the terminal third 
blackish ; under surface of tail slaty-black at the base and at 
the end, with a broad band of light grey in the middle ; head 
and neck bluish-grey, glossed with metallic green and lilac on 
the hind-neck ; on the sides of the neck a large patch of 
creamy-white feathers, the lower part of the hinder-neck and 
the lower sides of the neck glossed with metallic lilac ; sides of 
face and throat bluish-grey, paler towards the chin ; under 
surface of body from the lower throat to the breast vinous or 
lilac, wath the abdomen, sides of body, and under tail-coverts 
pale bluish-grey, like the under wing-coverts, axillaries, and 
quill-linings, the latter being a shade lighter grey ; bill orange- 
red at the base, yellow towards the tip, the membrane covering 
the nostrils almost white ; tarsi and feet bright red ; iris straw- 
yellow. Total length, 16 inches; culmen, 0*85; wing, 9*8; 
tail, 5*4 ; tarsus, i'2 5. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but a little smaller. Total 
length, 15-5 inches; wing, 9-5. 

Young Birds. — Resemble the adults, but are duller and paler 
in colour, and have no white patch on the side of the neck ; the 
bill is dull red at the base, greyish towards the tip. 

Nestling. — Leaden-grey, covered with hairy down of a straw- 
yellow colour. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Wood-Pigeon is generally distri- 
buted throughout England and Wales, receiving large additions 



tO; its numbers during the autumn migration. It is gradually 
extending its range northward, and is now common in the 
Lothians and other districts of Scotland, where it was unknown 
but a short time ago. The same may be said of the West of 
England, but in every county of Ireland it breeds numerously, 
according to Mr. Ussher, though in the treeless districts it is 
seldom seen. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is 
found throughout the Western Palaearctic Region, and 
extends eastward to Northern Persia, being replaced in 
South-eastern Persia, Central Asia, and the North-Western 
Himalayas as far as Nepal by Colu??iba casiofts, which has the 
neck-patches fulvous, or clayey cream-colour {Salvadori). In 
most parts of Europe the Wood-Pigeon is a resident, and it 
breeds as far north as 65° or 66° N. Lat. ; but those birds, which 
nest in more northern latitudes, migrate south as winter 
approaches, mostly coming over to Great Britain like the 

Habits. — In a wild state the Wood-Pigeon is one of the 
shyest of birds, as it is also one of the most wary ; but during 
the breeding season, when once the female has begun to sit, 
they are more easy of observation. I remember how, when a 
school-boy, I found a nest in an isolated tree, a small elm. 
The nest was placed in the fork of a branch against the stem, 
and was rather difficult of access. My mind was bent at 
that time upon possessing a live Wood-Pigeon to take home 
for the holidays along with my other pets (I had eighty birds 
of different sorts in a stable loft at the time, Barn-owls, 
Kestrels, Jackdaws, Mistle-Thrushes, etc., etc., etc. ! !). The 
young Pigeons, however, appeared determined not to be 
hatched out before my departure for home, so I resolved to 
catch the old bird if possible. The tree, as I said before, was 
not an easy one to climb, but I essayed it one morning soon 
after daybreak, when the hen bird was sitting hard, and I 
managed to reach the nest and place my hand on the sitting 
bird ; but not quite far enough, as she flew off" suddenly, and 
left the whole of her tail in my hand ! 

The Wood-Pigeon creates great havoc among the peas, and 
I remember once meeting a well-known Cookham gunner 

244 Allen's naturalist's library 

returning very early one morning with eight Wood-Pigeons in 
his hands, and I asked him how he got them. '"At one shot," he 
repUed, " Mr. Mills told me that the Pigeons were working his 
peas, and asked me to scare them if I could. So I went down to 
Widbrook, and hid myself behind the hedge on the common. 
After a long wait, I saw a bird walking among the peas and 
fired at it. On going to pick it up, I found seven others had 
been knocked over at the same time." Besides peas and grain 
the Wood- Pigeons devour great quantities of beech-mast, and 
I have more than once shot them from beech woods, when 
their crops have been so full of mast, that they have actually 
split open with their fall. 

At the present day one does not need to go to the woods 
to study the habits of this pretty bird, for it is now a plentiful 
inhabitant of the London parks. Years ago I have seen them 
stalking about quite tamely in the Champs Elysees and the 
gardens of the Luxembourg, in Paris, and now they are equally 
tame in Kensington Gardens and St. James's Park, in London, 
and one pair, at least, seems to have taken up their abode in 
the grounds of the Natural History Museum, during the 
present spring (1897). 

Nest. — This is a poorly constructed platform of crossed twigs, 
and is placed in all kinds of situations ; in low bushes, in high 
trees, in thick ivy, and sometimes on the deserted nests of 
other birds, or squirrels. When placed in a thorn-bush or 
some such situation, the framework of the nest is so slight 
that the white eggs can be seen through the twigs from below. 

Eggs. — Two, exceptionally three, in number. Pure white, 
and glossy. Axis, i-55-i"75 inches; diam., ri5-r25. 


Columba cenas (pt.), Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 279 (1766) ; Macgill. 
Brit. B. i. p. 287(1837); Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 23, 
pi. 458(1876); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 138 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 8 (1883); Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 401 (1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 
p. 469(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xx. (1891); 
Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxi. p. 261 (1893). 

[Pia/e CXXn.) 


r/y V v.- 


STOCK-£)OVE. 245 

Adult Male. — General colour above drab grey ; the wing- 
coverts like the back, but a little clearer grey, especially on the 
greater series, two of the innermost of which have black bases, 
forming a double spot on the wing; bastard-wing, primary- 
coverts, and quills blackish, bluish grey on the inner webs of 
some of the primary-coverts, and on the base of the outer webs 
of the inner primaries and outer secondaries, the inner second- 
aries almost entirely grey, and the innermost resembling the 
back, with a black spot in the middle of the outer web of two 
of them, forming another double spot on the wing ; lower 
back, rump, and upper tail-coverts clear bluish-grey ; tail 
bluish-grey, black for the terminal third, the under surface of 
the tail blackish, with a grey sub-terminal band; head and 
throat bluish-grey, with a dusky patch on the ear-coverts ; sides 
of neck and hind-neck glossed with metallic-green and lilac ; 
lower throat, fore-neck, and chest delicate vinous, fading off 
into the delicate pearly grey of the rest of the under parts ; the 
under tail-coverts slightly darker bluish-grey, with pale pearly- 
grey margins to the feathers ; the under wing-coverts and 
axillaries also somewhat darker grey than the breast ; bill red 
at base, yellow towards the tip, and grey on the soft part 
of the base of the upper mandible ; feet pinkish red ; iris 
red. Total length, 14 inches ; culmen, 0*8 ; wing, 8*2 ; tail, 4*0 ; 
tarsus, 1*2. 

Adult Female.— Similar to the male, but a little smaller and 
duller in colour. Total length, 13-5 inches; wing, 8-5. 

Young. — Duller in colour than the adults ; the green colour 
wanting on the neck, and the black spots on the wings 

Characters.— The smaller size, the lack of the large white 
patches on the sides of the neck, and the absence of white 
round the bend of the wing and on the outer wing-coverts, as 
well as the presence of the four black spots on the wing, 
caused by the bases to two of the inner greater coverts and 
two of the inner secondaries being black, distinguish the Stock- 
Dove from the Wood-Pigeon. 

Range in Great Britain. ^The Stock- Dove, like the Wood- 
Pigeon, is found in most parts of England, and is extending 
its range northward in Scotland. Mr. Ussher also reports that 

246 Allen's naturalist's library. 

it is spreading in Ireland. "It breeds," he says, "in Antrim, 
Down, Armagh, Louth, and Wicklow, and doubtless also in 
King's and Queen's Counties, where it is reported to be seen 
more or less frequently ; also recently in Carlow, though for- 
merly unknown there. Still scarce and local. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The Stock- Dove inhabits 
the whole of the Western Pal^arctic Region, and extends 
eastward to Turkestan and Northern Afghanistan and Lob- 
Noor. In Scandinavia and Russia it breeds up to about 
60° or 61° N. Lat. 

Habits. — The Stock-Dove has somewhat different habits from 
those of the Wood-Pigeon. It is seldom found in flocks, like 
the latter bird, and more often is met wTth singly. I have 
often flushed the Stock-Dove from the dense thickets of small 
branches which grow at the foot of ancient lime-trees, and 
become choked with dead leaves ; but I never could discover 
that it was nesting in these situations, though the cover was 
dense enough to afford it the shelter which the bird loves, and 
there was probably some hole in the tree itself which I failed 
to discover. In old elm-trees covered with ivy I have often 
found it nesting, and seeking the same kind of hole as the 
Jackdaws, which also nested, in the proportion of six to one of 
the Stock- Doves, in the same cluster of hoary elms. Like the 
Wood-Pigeon, the Stock-Dove resorts to some favourite and 
retired clump to roost; but whereas the former bird often 
selects a dense grove of yews or fir-trees on some island in a 
lake, I have never found the Stock-Doves resorting to such 
haunts. Above the old yew-avenue in Avington Park are 
many elm and ash trees, and to these the Stock-Doves used 
to resort as evening closed in, and I have procured several 
specimens for the British Museum by waiting for them in the 
twilight, when they used to flock into the high trees, doubtless 
intending to descend later on to roost in the shade of the great 
yews. The food of the Stock-Dove is very similar to that of 
the Wood-Pigeon, but I have never known the latter bird to 
show any preference for mustard-seed, whereas the Stock- Dove 
and the Turtle-Dove do great damage to the mustard-fields 
when the seed is ripe. In winter the Stock- Dove often mixes 
with the flocks of Wood-Pigeons. 


Kest. — Composed only of a few sticks or roots, and very 
frequently there is none at all, the eggs being laid on the wood 
at the bottom of a hole, or on the bare sand in a rabbit-burrow. 
Mr. Robert Read writes to me : — ^" I have found fresh eggs of 
this bird in Somersetshire as early as March and as late as 
September, in both instances in the hollow head of a pollard 
willow. I have also taken the nest from a rabbit-hole in a 
wooded hill-side." The species also breeds in holes of trees 
and cliffs, on beams in old church towers, old nests of other 
birds, and squirrel's dreys. 

Eggs. — Two. Pure glossy white. Axis, 1-5-1 "65 inches; 
diam., i •1-1*25. 


Columba livia^ Bonn. Enc. Meth. i. p. 227 (1790); Macgill. 
Brit. B. i. p. 268 (1837); Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. it, 
pi. 457 (1879); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 139 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 13 (1883) ; Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 405 ([884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 
p. 471 (1889); Salvad. Cat. B. Brit, Mus. xxi. p. 252 
(1893) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxx. (1895). 

Adult Male. — General colour above delicate grey ; the wing- 
coverts like the back, the greater series with a black band 
across the middle, forming a wing-bar ; bastard-wing, primary- 
coverts, and quills grey, dusky on the outer webs and at the 
ends ; the secondaries grey at the base, with broad blackish 
ends ; the inner secondaries black, with a sub-terminal bar of 
grey, the innermost grey towards the ends, which have a 
narrow dusky edging ; lower back pure white ; rump and 
upper tail-coverts slaty-blue, a little darker than the back; 
tail-feathers slaty-blue, with a broad sub-marginal band of 
black ; crown of head slaty-blue, as also the sides of the face 
and throat ; the sides of the neck and the entire hind-neck 
metallic lilac or green, according to the light, this metallic 
colour extending all over the fore-neck and chest ; remainder 
of the under surface of the body clear slaty-grey, a little 
darker on the under tail coverts ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries white, with the edge of the wing grey, the quill- 

248 Allen's naiuralist's lidrauy. 

lining ashy- whitish ; bill vinous slate-colour, inclining to white 
on the cere; feet red; iris orange-red. Total length, 13 
inches ; culmen, 075 ; wing, 8 95 ; tail, 3-9; tarsus, 1-15. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but somewhat smaller. 
Total length, 12-5 inches; wing, 8*3. 

Young. — Differs from the adult in its more dingy coloration, 
and in the pale fringes to the wing-coverts. The metallic 
colour on the neck and chest is almost entirely absent, these 
parts being dusky slate colour ; the lower back is white as in 
the adults. 

Characters. — The white on the lower back at once dis- 
tinguishes the Rock-Dove from the Wood-Pigeon and the 
Stock Dove, Like the latter it has no white patches on the 
sides of the neck, which are metallic ; but instead of the four 
black spots on the wing-coverts, the wing is crossed by a 
black band across the greater coverts. I'here is a second 
black band, in both species, formed by the ends of the 
secondaries ; but in the Rock-Dove the innermost secondaries 
are crossed with a black band, whereas in the Stock-Dove 
these quills resemble the back, and only two of them show a 
black spot on the outer web. 

Range in Great Britain. — The Rock-Dove breeds in a wild 
state on the cliffs of Scotland and the Orkneys and Shetlands, 
and its range can be traced from Devonshire and Cornwall, 
where it is very local, along the west of England and Wales, 
but on the east coast of England it is only found on Flam- 
borough Head, and in Northumberland. Mr. Ussher says that 
it breeds in the sea cliffs nearly all round Ireland. 

Range outside the British Islands. — Count Salvadori says that 
the range of the Rock-Dove extends throughout the VVestern 
Palsearctic Region, eastwards to Sind, Cashmere, and some 
parts of India. In many countries it crosses with the 
domestic Pigeon, and varies considerably in plumage in con- 
sequence, so that several supposed species have been named 
upon these differences. It seems to be nowhere very common in 
Europe, excepting, as Mr. Saunders points out, in mountainous 
regions, such as the Pyrenees and the various ranges of Spain 
and Italy. 

kOCK-DOVE. 249 

Haliits. — The late Dr. Saxby has given the following account 
of the habits of the Rock-Dove in the Shetlands : — 

"It is not very difficult to approach under ordinary 
circumstances, and, when feeding in flocks among stubble, is 
so intent upon its work as to allow the shooter to walk 
boldly up within range ; but in neighbourhoods where it is 
often disturbed it is fully as shy as the Wood-Pigeon. It is 
easy to shoot the Doves as they fly in and out of their caves ; 
but the practice is dangerous, from the risk one runs of 
shaking down loose fragments of stone, as well as cruel, on 
account of the impossibility of entering the caves in any but 
the calm weather of the more genial seasons of the year, when, 
of course, the birds are breeding. 

" The Rock-Dove feeds in company with various other 
species, such as Redwings, Twites, Buntings, and tame 
Pigeons ; and it is owing to the latter circumstance that 
parti-coloured birds are so frequently met with in the flocks. 
In winter, during hard frost, it descends to the shingly beaches, 
where it picks up small seeds among the weathered plants 
above high-water mark. 

" It is difficult to convince farmers that at least it does some 
little good. But in this case, as in all other similar cases, the 
wisest course is merely to give a simple, unprejudiced record of 
facts, leaving truth to work its own way, as it inevitably will in 
the end. To state that any living thing is probably useful to 
mankind, is but to divide one's hearers into two classes, the one 
clamouring for its extermination, the other prepared to protect 
it to an injurious extent ; and a precisely similar result would 
have been sure to follow an opinion that it was useless or hurtful. 
When its enemies see it upon the sheaves, they at once begin 
to argue as if this were its constant habit all the year round, 
and they enter into the most intricate calculations as to the 
probable number of bushels thus consumed during the twelve 
months. Similarly, its would-be friends are triumphant when, 
on opening the crop of a Rock-Dove shot in a stubble field, 
some considerable time after the corn has been cleared, it is 
found to be filled with the seeds and roots of noxious weeds^ 
with merely a few grains of oats or barley intermixed, quite 
overlooking the fact, that had the grain been abundant the 
weeds would have been despised, as indeed I have ascertained 


by experiment with these birds in confinement. During, say, 
ten months in the year, when corn is not to be procured, the 
Rock-Dove subsists chiefly upon the roots of the couch-grass 
{Tritiaim repens)^ and the seeds of various troublesome weeds, 
such as Sinapis arrensis, Raphanus, Raphanistrum^ FIa?ttago 
maritifua, and Capsella bursa-pastoris. There can be no doubt 
that it greatly prefers grain to all other food, and will consume it 
in enormous quantities ; therefore, if the farmer cannot con- 
vince himself that the evil is counterbalanced by the good, 
and finds his interests suffering, then by all means let him save 
his pocket by thinning the ranks, but also let him pause ere he 
attempt the dangerous experiment of total extermination." 

Nest. — According to Messrs. Kearton, who have given a 
photograph of one of the caves in North Uist, where Rock- 
Doves and Shags were breeding in company, the nest is a 
small collection of twigs, sticks, seaweed, and bents, roughly 
constructed, and flat. It is placed on ledges and clefts of 
maritime and inland cliffs, generally the former. 

Eggs. — Two in number, glossy white. Axis, i"5 to i'65 
inches; diam., i •15-1-2. 


In these American birds the tail is very peculiar, being not 
only longer than the wing, but narrow, and having the feathers 
pointed, the outer feathers being much broader than the centre 
ones. There is but one genus and a single species in this 

Ectopistes Swainson, Zool. Journ. p. 362 (1827). 
Type, E^ migratorius (Linn.). 
The following is the only representative of the genus : — • 



Coluniba migi'aioria^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 285 (1766). 


Ectopistes viigratoniis, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 140 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 28 (1883); id. Man. 
Brit. B. p. 474, note (1889); Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxi. 
p. 369 (1893). 

Adult Male. — General colour slaty-grey on the mantle, wing- 
coverts, lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts ; scapulars 
brown, with black marks caused by longitudinal patches near 
the base of the outer web, a few of the adjacent median and 
greater coverts similarly marked ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, 
and quills black, the primaries externally margined with whity- 
brown, the inner ones more broadly with white near the base 
of the outer web ; centre tail-feathers slaty-black, the remainder 
grey, with more or less white along the inner web of all but 
the outside feathers, which are white on the outer web and grey 
on the inner one ; all but the centre feathers with a patch of 
cinnamon near the base of the inner web ; head and hind-neck, 
sides of face, and throat slaty-blue, paler on the latter, the sides 
of the neck nietallic reddish lilac, extending round the hind- 
neck and on to the upper mantle, these parts being shot with 
coppery bronze ; under surface of body, from the middle of 
the throat downwards, rich vinous cinnamon, paler on the 
breast, the lower abdomen and under tail-coverts white ; sides 
of body and axillaries slaty-grey, the under wing-coverts darker 
slate colour, and those near the edge of the wing slaty-blackish ; 
quill Hning dark ashy. Total length, 16-2 inches; culmen, 
07; wing, 8-45; tail, 7*85; tarsus, 1-2. 

Adult Female. — In the British Museum are specimens, sexed 
as females, which do not differ from the males in colour. 
Salvadori and Ridgway, however, describe the hen birds as 
having a brownish head and whitish throat. According to the 
latter the chest and breast are greyish brown or drab, gradually 
changing to pale brownish-grey on the sides ; the belly and 
under tail-coverts white. Total length, 14-5 inches; wing, 7 ■8. 

Young.— Browner than the adults and marked with white 
fringes to the feathers of the upper surface, the quills edged 
with light rufous. The throat and abdomen white ; lower 
throat, fore-neck, and chest brown, with whitish fringes to the 

252 ALLEN'S naturalist's LIBRARY; 

Range in Great Britain. — The Passenger Pigeon has been shot 
five times in our islands, but Mr. Saunders doubts if, on these 
occasions, the birds have been really wild individuals. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The range given for the 
species in the "Check- List of North American Birds" (p. 179) 
is as follows : — " Eastern North America, from Hudson's Bay 
southward and wxst to the Great Plains, straggling westward 
to Nevada and Washington Territory." 

Habits. — Dr. Brewer, in the " History of North American 
Birds," gives the following notes on the species : — 

"Mr. Audubon states that in 1813, on his way from 
Henderson to Louisville, in crossing the barrens near Hardens- 
burg, he observed these birds flying to the south-west in 
greater numbers than he had ever known before. He attempted 
to count the different flocks as they successively passed, but 
after counting one hundred and sixty-three in twenty-one 
minutes he gave it up as impracticable. As he journeyed on, 
their numbers seemed to increase. The air seemed filled with 
Pigeons, and the light of noon-day to be obscured as by an 
eclipse. Not a single bird alighted, as the woods were 
destitute of mast, and all flew so high that he failed to reach 
any with a rifle. He speaks of their aerial evolutions as 
beautiful in the extreme, especially when a Hawk pressed upon 
the rear of a flock. All at once, like a torrent, and with a 
noise like that of thunder, they rushed together into a compact 
mass, and darted forward in undulating lines, descending and 
weeping near the earth with marvellous velocity, then 
mounting almost perpendicularly in a vast column, wheeling 
and twisting so that their continued lines seemed to resemble 
the coils of a gigantic serpent. At times they flew so low that 
multitudes were destroyed, and, for many days, the entire 
population seemed to eat nothing else but Pigeons. 

"When a flight of Pigeons discovers an abundant supply of 
food, sufficient to induce them to alight, they are said to pass 
around in circles over the place, making various evolutions, 
after a while passing lower over the woods, and at length 
alighting ; then, as if suddenly alarmed, taking to flight, only 
to return immediately. These manceuvres are repeated with 
various indications of indecision in their movements, or as if 


apprehensive of unseen dangers. During these manoeuvres 
the flapping of their many thousand wings causes a reverbera- 
tion suggestive of thunder. When at last settled upon the 
ground, they industriously search among the fallen leaves for 
the acorns and the beech-mast, the rear flocks continually 
rising, passing over the main body, and re-alighting. These 
changes are so frequent that at times the whole collection 
appears to be in motion. A large extent of ground is thus 
cleared in a surprisingly short space of time, and cleared with 
a completeness that is described as incredible. They are 
usually satiated by the middle of the day, and ascend to the 
trees to rest and digest their food. On these occasions the 
Pigeons are destroyed in immense numbers, and their 
abundance in large extents of the country has been very 
sensibly reduced." 

Nest. — Composed of a few dry twigs laid crosswise and built 
upon the branches of trees. (Brewer, t.c. p. 373.) 

Eggs. — -Two in number, pure white. Axis, 1-4-1 '6 inches; 
diam., io-i"i6. 


In this family of Pigeons the bill is not hooked, and the 
nostrils are parallel to the edges or tomia of the upper 
mandible. The tarsus is equal to, or longer than, the middle 
toe, and the number of tail-feathers varies from twelve to twenty. 


In this Sub-family there are no long hackles on the neck, 
neither is there any black spot beneath the ear-coverts, as in 
the Zenaidince. Count Salvadori gives the following supple- 
mentary characters : — No metallic spots on the wings ; tail of 
twelve feathers, rather broad ; tarsus naked on the upper 
part ; neck with a dark collar, more or less distinct, or with 
scale-like patches on the sides. 

The Turtle-Doves, which includes five sub-genera — Turfur, 
Homopelia, Streptopelia, Spilopelia, and Stigmatopelia — are 
entirely confined to the Old World, over the whole of which 
they are distributed. 

2 54 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Turtu7% Selby in Jardine's Nat. Libr. Pigeons, p. 169 (1835). 
Type, T. turhir (Linn.). 
The characters of the genus Turtiir are the same as those 
of the Sub-family recorded above. 


Columha furfur, Lmn. Syst. Nat i. p. 284(1766); Macgill. 

Brit. B. i. p. 291 (1837). 
Turtur vu!ga?-is, Eyton ; Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 39, pi. 462 

Turtur cojiimunis, Selby ; B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 139 (1883) ; 

Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 21 (1883); id. Man. 

Brit. B. p. 473 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. 

part xxviii. (1894). 
Turtur auritus, Ray; Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 411 (1884). 
Turtur turtur, Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxi. p, 396 (1893). 

Adult Male. — General colour above brown, with a ruddy 
shade, the scapulars and wing-coverts rufous, with black spear- 
shaped centres to the feathers, less strongly indicated on the 
wing-coverts ; the outer lesser coverts, and the median and 
greater series bluish-grey, the innermost ones rufous, with 
black centres, like the scapulars ; bastard-wing and primary- 
coverts blackish, externally bluish-grey ; quills dusky brown, 
with a slight ashy shade externally, the feathers narrowly 
fringed with whity-brown ; lower back, rump, and upper tail- 
coverts brown, with a ruddy tinge and more or less grey, 
especially on the sides of the back ; centre tail-feathers dusky 
brown, with whity-brown tips, the remainder of the feathers 
black with broad white ends, the outer ones also white on 
their outer webs ; head and nape bluish-grey; on the sides of 
the neck a large patch of mottled feathers, black with bluish- 
white margins, having a scalloped appearance ; sides of face 
and throat pale vinous, deepening on the fore-neck and breast, 
and fading off towards the abdomen, which is white, the under 
tail-coverts being pure white; axillaries and sides of body 
slaty-blue, the under wing-coverts darker slate-colour; quills 


dull ashy below ; bill brown ; feet red ; iris reddish-brown ; 
bare skin round the eye red. Total length, 1 1 inches ; 
culmen, 07; wing, 6*8; tail, 3'9; tarsus, o'g. 

Adult Female, — Similar to the male, but with the plumage 
rather duller. Total length, io'5 inches ; wing, 6'8. 

Youn^. — Browner than the adults, with broader and duller 
rufous edges to the scapulars and wing-coverts ; quills edged 
and tipped with rufous. There are no dark patches on the 
sides of the neck, and the throat and breast are dull pale ashy, 
with a wash of fulvous brown on the lower throat ; the flanks 
grey, and the rest of the lower parts white. 

Range in Great Britain. — A summer visitor, arriving in May 
or at the end of April. It breeds throughout England up to 
Yorkshire, but is rare to the northward, though it is believed 
to have bred in Durham, Northumberland, and Cumberland, 
and even in the south of Scotland. It has occurred in 
migration as far north as the Shetlands and the Faeroe Isles. 
As regards its occurrence in Ireland, Mr. R. J. Ussher 
writes : — " It is recorded as having once nested near Down- 
patrick, and once at Derraquin, Kerry (Thompson). A female, 
with eggs in its ovary, was once shot near Avoca in Wicklow 
(Walters), and recently Mr. E. Williams has obtained, near 
Dublin, some birds so young that they seemed to have been 
reared in the county. As it is often observed in spring, it 
probably breeds more frequently than is supposed." 

Range outside the British Islands. — The present species is a 
summer resident throughout the Western Palaearctic Region, 
and winters in Northern Africa as far south, at least, as Shoa. 
In Central Asia it extends to Yarkand, Afghanistan, and 
Baluchistan ; but Mr. Hartert considers the Eastern birds to 
belong to a distinct pale race which he has called Tn7'tur. 

Habits. — Seebohm gives the following note : — The Turtle- 
Dove is very careful to conceal its nest, and breeds only in 
districts that afford it plenty of cover. It is very partial to 
dense game-coverts and plantations, and loves the more open 
districts, if the hedges are tall and thick. It also frequents 
parks and pleasure-grounds, and is commonly met with in 
close shrubberies. Soon after their arrival the woods and 

256 Allen's naturalist's library. 

groves are full of their soft note, which is a rich low coor-r-r 
coor-r-r, prolonged for some time, and often modulated in 
different ways. In cultivated districts it is a very timid bird, 
and at the least alarm seeks safety amongst the trees, where, 
when perched, it is ever looking anxiously from side to side, 
as if fearful of an enemy's approach ; but it is a very easy bird 
to shoot when feeding in open country where it is not 
molested. The food of the Turtle-Dove is chiefly composed 
of grain and small seeds ; but, doubtless, like its near allies, 
the Pigeons, it varies this diet with land-shells and fruit. Like 
the rest of the Pigeons, the Turtle-Dove drinks frequently and 
regularly. It is said by some writers that it only takes fresh 
water ; but Stevenson, in his " Birds of Norfolk," notices its 
partiality for salt, and thinks that this is the reason why it 
occurs so abundantly near the coast. Other Pigeons are 
known to prefer brackish water to fresh. 

" Like its cousins, the Pigeons, the Turtle-Dove often flies 
far to feed, and small parties of these birds, as well as of Stock- 
Doves, may be constantly seen in spring on the Wallachian 
Steppes ten miles or more from a tree or even a bush. I have 
shot them on these prairies as late as the 28th of May. The 
flight of this bird is very powerful, and often accompanied 
with loud clashing together of the wings. On the ground it 
runs among the earth-clods with great ease, continually de- 
pressing its head and contracting its neck." 

Nest. — A flat structure of twigs, varying in strength and di- 
mensions. It is often built in evergreen trees or bushes in 
parks and gardens, or in a dense hedge, and generally at no 
great distance from the ground. 

Eggs. — Two in number, creamy- white. Axis, i' 1-1*3 inch; 
diam., o-85-i-o. 


Cohimba oricnfaiis, Lash. Ind. Orn. ii. p. 606 (1790). 
Tiirtur orientalis, Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxi. p. 403 
Adult Male. — Similar to T. tiniur, but rather larger, with the 
edges to the feathers on the side of the neck bluish-grey, the 

sandgroUse:. ^57 

abdomen vinous like the breast, and the under wing-coverts and 
the band at the end of the tail-feathers bluish-grey, instead of 
white ; bill blackish ; feet dull purplish lake. Total length, 
i3'o inches ; culmen, 0*7 ; wing, 7*4; tail, 4*5 ; tarsus, i'o5* 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male, but smaller. Total 
length, 12 inches; wing, 67. 

Range in Great Britain. — A single specimen of this eastern 
species of Turtle-Dove was shot near Scarborough on the 23rd 
of October, 1889, and was exhibited by the late Mr. Seebohm, 
on behalf of Mr. James Backhouse of York, at a meeting of the 
Zoological Society, on the 6th of May, 1890. 

Range outside the British Islands. — According to Count Salvadori, 
this species of Turtle-Dove is found from the base of the 
Himalayas to Central India, and through the Burmese countries 
to Formosa, Manchuria, Corea, and Japan. 

Habits. — Captain Hutton states that the present species arrives 
at Masuri in the N.W. Himalayas, early in April, when all the 
woods resound with its deep-toned cooing. It does not seem 
to differ in any respect in habits from other Turtle-Doves. It 
breeds in Alay and June, and Mr. Hume has found nests as 
late as August. 

Nest. — According to Mr. Hume, the bird makes a loose but 
rather more substantial twig nest than many of its congeners ; 
it is placed on some horizontal branch of a large tree, usually 
not far from the extremity. 

Eggs. — Two in number, white. Axis, i-i-i*34 inch; diam., 


The Sand-Grouse hold an intermediate position between the 
Pigeons and the Game-Birds, not only in external appearance, 
but on account of their anatomical and osteological peculiari- 

* In the ninth volume of this Library Mr. \V. R. Ogilvie Grant has 
described all the Game-Birds, including the Sand-Grouse. He is the 
acknowledged authority on these Orders of birds and I have therefore 
merely given an epitome of the British species, founded on Mr. Grant's 
work above-mentioned. Much of the information in the following pages 
is a copy of Mr. Grant's work, for the simple reason that I have not 
seen how to improve upon it» 

15 s 


Allen's naturalist's library. 

ties. Thus Mr. Ogilvie Grant writes : — " Their general 
structure presents many striking Columbine characters, as in 
the vocal organs, pterygoid bones, and the presence of basi-- 
pterygoid processes {bp) in the skull (fig.i), the shoulder-girdle, 

Fig. I. — 'iVwW.oi Pte7'ocJes exustiis. Fig. 2. — ^VvXloi P. exiistiis. 

Sternum, and especially the great deltoid process of the humerus, 
or upper-wing bone ; but the digestive organs are like those 
of the True Game-Birds." 

Fig. 3. — Sternum oi Pterodes alchatus. 

sAnd-grouse. :^59 

Among other distinctive characters may be mentioned the 
schizorhinal nasals and the sternum, with two notches on 
each side of the posterior margin, the inner one being some- 
times reduced to a foramen (fig. 3). 

The bill resembles that of the True Game-Birds, but is not 
so strongly developed. 

Three toes only occur, the hind-toe, when present, being in 
a rudimentary condition. The feet are very short and feathered, 
and the toes are either naked or thickly covered with plumes. 

The wings are long and pointed. 

The feathers of the body have w^ell-developed after-shafts, 
like those of the True Game-Birds, but the fifth secondary 
flight- feather is absent. 

The young are born covered with down, and are able to run 
soon after they are hatched. 

The eggs are almost invariably three in number, smooth and 
glossy in texture, equally rounded at both ends, and double 
spotted, a set of pale purplish marks beneath the surface of the 
shell underlying the brown surface spots (Grant, /.r.). 


The characters for the family are the same as those of the 
Order Fteroclefes, there being but one family in the order. 
Only one species has occurred within our limits. 


Syrrhapfes, Illiger, Prodr. p. 243 (181 1). 
Type, S. paradoxus (Pall.). 

Pallas's Sand-Grouse, which is the only species which has 
occurred in Great Britain, is distinguished from all the other 
members of the Order Pterockies by the want of the hind-toe. 
The tarsus and the toes are covered with feathers. 

Two species of Syrrhaptes are known, one, S. paradoxus^ 
described below, and the other, S. tibetamis^ being an inhabi- 
tant of Central Asia. 

s 2 

^^6 Allen's naturalist's library. 


Tetrao paradoxa, Pall. Reis. Russ. Reichs. ii. Add d 7 12 
(1773). ^ 

Syrrhaptes paradoxus, Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 75, pi. 468 
(1876); B.O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 140 (1883); Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 31 (1883); Seebohm, Hist. 
Brit. B. 11. p. 419 (1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 475 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xvii. (189 1) ; Ogilvie 
Grant, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 2 (1893) ; id. in AUen's 
Nat. Libr. ix. p. 3, pi. i. (1895). 

Adult Male. — General colour above pale sandy buff ; across 
the breast a band of white, each feather having a black sub- 
terminal cross-bar ; throat rusty-red, not margined by a black 
line ; no black spots on the side of the neck ; on the abdomen 
a large black patch. Total length, 14-6 inches ; wing, 9-1 ; 
tail, 7-0; tarsus, o-8 (Grant, I.e.). 

Adult Female.— Differs from the male in having the sides of 
the neck spotted with black ; the band across the breast is 
wanting, and a black line bands the pale buff throat. Total 
length, 12-8 inches ; wing, 8-o ; tail, 5-5 ; tarsus, o'Z (Grant, I.e.). 

Nestling.— Covered with beautifully patterned down, each 
plume of the body being distinct and almost scale-like in ap- 
pearance, quite different from the fluffy down of young Game- 
Birds. The general colour is pale buff, with patches of sienna 
and brown arranged in pairs on the sides of the head and the 
upper parts of the body. These patches are mostly margined 
and connected by irregular dotted black lines (Newton, Ibis, 
1890, p. 210, pi. vii.) 

Range in Great Britain. — Pallas's Sand-Grouse only aj)pears at 
certain intervals, when a great irruption into Western Europe 
takes place. Thus in 1863, and again in 1888, large numbers 
visited Britain and even bred here. Notwithstanding the pro- 
tection afforded them by intelligent land-owners, the birds 
vanished by degrees, and probably migrated eastwards, back to 
their home in the Kirghis Steppes. 

Range outside tlie British Islands. — The home of Pallas's 
Sand-Grouse is in the Kirghis Steppes, whence it extends to 


Turkestan and the region of Lake Baikal, Mongolia, and 
Northern China. 

Habits. — The late General Prjevalsky writes : — " After their 
morning feed, the flocks betake themselves to some well or 
salt-lake to drink, apparently preferring the fresh to the salt 
water. At the drinking-place, as well as at the feeding-places, 
these birds never settle on the ground without first describing 
a circle, in order to assure themselves that there is no danger. 
On alighting they hastily drink and rise again ; and, in cases 
where the flocks are large, the birds in front get up before 
those at the back have time to alight. They know their 
drinking-places very well, and very often go to them from 
distances of tens of miles, especially in the mornings between 
nine and ten o'clock, but after twelve at noon they seldom 
visit these spots." In autumn they are very gregarious, and 
large flocks are to be met with in the neighbourhood of their 
breeding-ground, unless compelled to migrate to greater dis- 
tances by a heavy fall of snow. 

Swinhoe says that in North China great numbers of these birds 
are sometimes caught after a snow-storm, when they arrive in 
large flocks in search of food. Having cleared the snow from 
a patch of ground, the natives scatter a small green bean to ' 
attract the birds and sometimes manage to catch a whole flock 
in their clap-nets. 

Nest. — None ; merely a slight hole scratched in the ground. 

Eggs. — Three, sometimes four, in number. Like those of all 
other members of the group, the eggs are perfectly oval in 
shape and remarkably Rail-like in appearance, closely resem- 
bling those of the Corn-Crake {C7'ex crex). The ground- 
colour is olive or brownish-buff, spotted all over, though not 
very thickly, with brown and pale olive or grey, the former 
markings being on the surface of the shell, the latter beneath. 
(Cf. Grant, i.e. p. 5.) 


The following characters of the Order are summarised by 
Mr. Ogilvie Grant (t. c, p. 25): — "The nasals are holorhinal 
(fig. 5) and true basipterygoid processes are absent, but are 



represented by sessile facets (sf) situated far forward on the 
sphenoidal rostrum (fig. 6). The episternal process of the 

^ sf 

Fig. 5.— Skull of Red Grouse. Fig. 6.— Skull of Red Grouse. 

Fig. 7. — Sternum of Red Grouse, 


Sternum is perforated to receive a process from the base of the 
coracoids (fig. 7, A), and there are two deep notches on each 
side of the posterior margin of the sternum (fig. 7, B), The 
bill is short and stout, the upper mandible being arched and 
oyerhanging the lower. The hind-toe is always present, but 
varies in size and position. The feathers covering the body- 
are provided with well-developed after-shafts. The nestlings are 
hatched covered with down, and able to run a few hours after 
their birth. The eggs, especially those of the smaller species, 
are often numerous, and when spotted have only a single set of 
surface marks, none of the pale underlying spots characteristic 
of the Sand-Grouse, Hemipodes, and Wading Birds, being 
found." (Grant, U) 


The hind-toe is raised above the level of the other toes ; the 
nostrils are covered with feathers. The legs are more or less 
covered with feathers, and there is no spur. The toes are also 
mostly covered with feathers, but are sometimes naked and 
pectinate, with a series of horny comb-like processes on each 
side. (Cf Grant, Ar. p. 26). 


Lagopus^ Briss. Orn. i. pp. 181, 216 (1760). 

Type, Z. lagopus (Linn.). 

Mr. Grant characterises this genus by the dense feathering 
on the feet and toes. The tail is moderately long, consisting 
of sixteen feathers, the outer ones being nearly as long as the 
middle pair. 


Tetrao scoticus^ Lath. Ind. Orn. ii. p. 641 (1790); Seebohm, 

Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 428 (1884). 
Lagopus scoticus^ Macgill. Brit. B. i. p. 169 (1837); Dresser, 

B. Eur. vii. p. 165, pi. 479 (1873); B.O. U. List. Brit. 

B. p. 144 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. 

p. 73(1883); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 481 (1889); Lilford, 

264 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xviii. (1891) ; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. 
Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 35 (1893) ; id. in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. 
p. 27 (1895). 

The Red Grouse is such a well-known bird that a detailed 
description is unnecessary, but the reader is referred to the 
excellent descriptions published by Mr. Ogilvie Grant. The 
following account of the variations in the plumage of this species 
is the result of very careful study on his part, and I cannot 
do better than quote it, as I find nothing to add on my own 
account. The figures referred to in his descriptions will be 
found in the volume quoted (Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. pis. ii. iii.). 

Adult Male and Female. — This species may be distinguished by 
having the flight-feathers always blackish-brown. 

Male : Total length, 15-5 inches ; wing, 8'i ; tail, 4-8 ; tar- 
sus, I '4. 

Female: Total length, 15 inches; wing, 7*8; tail, 4*3; tar- 
sus, 1-35. 

Range. — Great Britain and Ireland. The only species of 
Game-Bird peculiar to the British Islands. 

Changes of Plumage. * — " As no group of birds, as far as I am 
aware, goes through so many and such varied annual changes of 
plumage as do the members of the genus Lagopiis, which includes 
the Red Grouse, Willow Grouse, and four species of Ptarmigan, 
it will be necessary to enter somewhat fully into details so as 
to thoroughly understand the subject. 

" The Red Grouse being one of the most variable birds in 
existence, we must begin by saying a few words regarding 
individual variation. The ordinary varieties of the male may 
be divided into three distinct types of plumage : a red form, a 
black form, and a white-spotted form. The first of these, in 
which the general colour is rufous-chestnut (pi. ii. fig. 8) with- 
out any white spots on the breast, is mostly to be found on the 
low grounds of Ireland, the west coast of Scotland, and the 
Outer Hebrides. Typical examples of the second, or black, 
form (pi. ii. fig. 10) are rarely met with, and are usually 
found mixed with either the red or white-spotted forms, but 
most often with both, and specimens in mixed plumage are 
* Cf. Ogilvie Grant, Lc, 


those most commonly met with. The third, or white-spotted 
form, has the feathers of the breast and belly, and sometimes 
those of the head and upper-parts, tipped with white. The 
most typical examples of this variety are found, as a rule, on 
the high grounds of the north of Scotland. 

"In the female, no less than five distinct types are recognisable, 
the red, the black, the white-spotted, the buff-spotted, and the 
buff-barred, forms. The first two are the rarest, the latter being 
extremely uncommon (pi. iii. figs. 5 and 13). The white- 
spotted form occurs as in the male; the buff-spotted form, 
which is much the commonest and most usually met with, has 
the feathers of the upper parts topped at the tip with whitish- 
buff (pi. iii. figs. 2 and 3) ; the fifth, or buff-barred form 
(pi. iii. fig. 4), is met with in the south of Ireland, and re- 
sembles in winter (autumn plumage) the ordinary female in 
breeding plumage, having the upper parts coarsely barred with 
buff and black. Very little is known of this last variety, owing 
to the difficulty in obtaining birds, except during the shooting 

" The great peculiarity of the Red Grouse, and one without 
parallel among birds even of the genus, lies in the fact that the 
changes of plumage in the male and female occur at difterent 

" The male has no distinct summer plumage, but has distinct 
autumn and winter plumages, and retains the latter through- 
out the breeding season. 

" The female has a distinct summer plumage, which is com- 
plete by the end of April or beginning of May ; also a distinct 
autumn plumage, which is retained till the following spring. 

" To put it more concisely, both male and female have two 
distinct m.oults during the year, but in the male they occur in 
autumn and winter, and in the female in summer and autumn ; 
the former having no distinct summer, and the latter no distinct 
winter plumage. 

" In the Willow Grouse and Ptarmigan there are three distinct 
changes of plumage in summer, autumn, and winter in both 
male and female alike, the winter plumage being white in all. 

"The Red Grouse is considered by most ornithologists merely 
an insular form of the Willow Grouse, and consequently one 
plight naturally suppose that, as the British species does not 

266 Allen's naturalist's library. 

turn white in winter, such protective pkimage being unnecessary 
in the locahties it inhabits, the winter moult has been gradually 
dropped. Now this is the case with the female only, and we 
find the male, for no apparent reason, changing his newly 
acquired buff and black autumn plumage for a winter one of 
chestnut and black. Further investigations may lead to some 
explanation of this strange anomaly, but at present we know of 

"Adult Male, Autumn Plumage. — After the breeding season a 
very complete autumn moult takes place, the quills, tail, and 
feathers on the feet being entirely renewed. In most examples 
the feathers of the upper parts are black, margined, and irregu- 
larly barred with tawny-buff, and in most cases the bars cross 
the feathers more or less transversely (pi. ii. fig. 4), but in some 
they are more or less concentric and parallel with the marginal 
band, giving the upper parts a scaled appearance (pi. ii. 
figs. 6 and 7). The feathers of the chest are rather widely 
barred with buff or rufous-buff and black (pi. ii. fig. 11), and 
some of the flank-feathers are more narrowly barred with the 
same colours. The rest of the under parts vary according to 
the type to which the individual belongs, being chestnut, black, 
or white-spotted, or a mixture of all three. In a bird shot on 
the 6th of June, the autumn moult having commenced on the 
upper mantle, three different sets of feathers can be seen on the 
back at once, belonging to the new autumn, the old winter, and 
the old autumn plumages, both the latter very clearly showing 
the result of wear and tear (pi. ii. figs. 1-3). 

" The males at this season, no matter to what type they belong, 
bear a much closer resemblance to one another than they do 
in their winter plumage, only the under parts of the body 
differing conspicuously. 

"The first feathers of the winter plumage begin to appear 
about the beginning of September. 

"Adult Male, V/inter-Summer Plumage. — General colour above 
black, with finely of mottled bars of dark chestnut 
(pi. ii. fig. 5); head, neck, and chest (pi. ii. fig. 12) 
mostly dark chestnut, finely marked with black ; and the flanks 
mottled and barred with the same colours, the chestnut usually 
predominating. Generally a greater or less number of autumn 


feathers are retained, and are conspicuous among the new 
winter plumage. The rest of the under parts remain the same 
as after the autumn moult. 

" The general colour of each bird varies, of course, according 
to the type to which it belongs, some being darker, some lighter. 
When once the winter moult is complete, no change whatever 
takes place in the plumage of the male till the following autumn 
moult, except that the feathers become bleached and worn at 
the extremities. 

"Adult Female, Autumn-Winter Plumage.* — Upper parts black, 
with narrow irregular bars and mottlings of rufous, and a buff 
spot at the tip of most of the feathers (pi. iii. figs. 2 and 3) ; 
chest and flank-feathers narrowly and often irregularly barred 
with rufous and black, and usually more o'r less tipped with 
buff (pi. iii. figs. 10 and 11). The rest of the under parts 
are dark chestnut, mottled and barred with black, or black 
barred with chestnut. The typical white-spotted form differs, 
of course, in having the feathers of the under parts widely 
tipped with white. 

"Adult Female, Summer Plumage. — 

"^. Feathers of the Upper parts. 

" So far as I have been able to ascertain from examining a 
large number of specimens, the summer feathers of the upper 
parts are always attained by moult, and never by change of 
pattern. The summer moult of these parts is very complete, 
and the transformation from the autumn-winter plumage very 
remarkable. Every female assumes the summer plumage, and 
at this season all the different types closely resemble one 
another, but one can generally tell by the colour of the under 

* The form described is the commonest or buff-spotted form of the female 
in autumn plumage. In typical examples of the red form the buff spots at 
the ends of the feathers of the upper parts are absent, and this is also the 
case in the much rarer black form. In the buff-barred form, from the 
south and west of Ireland, the terminal buff spot takes the form of a mar- 
ginal bar, and the feathers are practically indistinguishable from the breed- 
mg or summer plumage. It may transpire that, in the south of Ireland, the 
most southerly point of this bird's range, the female retains her breeding 
plumage throughout the year, but this seems unlikely, and birds killed 
between the months of April and August are wanted to settle this point. 

2 68 Allen's naturallsts library. 

parts to which form an individual belongs. In the average 
female in full breeding dress the upper-parts may be described 
as black, each feather being rather widely margined, barred, 
and marked with orange-buff (pi. iii. fig. i). The protection 
afforded by this plumage is so perfect that, when the bird is 
sitting on its nest among heather and dead grass, it may easily 
remain unobserved, though only a few yards distant. 

"This plumage, however, varies much in different individuals, 
birds from the west of Scotland, Yorkshire, and Ireland having 
the orange-brown bars much brighter and wider than in the 
more finely mottled and darker specimens generally charac- 
teristic of the east of Scotland. 

" B. Feathers of the Sides and Fla?iks. 

"" By the first week in May the summer plumage of the female 
Grouse is fairly complete, and many of the finely mottled 
rufous and black autumn flank-feathers are replaced by widely, 
and often irregularly, barred buff and black feathers, similar to 
those of the chest. It must be particularly noted that in none 
of the many females examined, in breeding plumage, were 
the whole of the autumn flank-feathers cast or changed in the 
summer moult, a large proportion being retained, unchanged 
in colour, till the next (autumn) moult. The summer flank- 
feathers are produced in two ways, either by a gradual re- 
arrangement and change in the pigment of the autumn feathers 
(pi. iii. figs. 6-8) or by moult (pi. iii. fig. 9). In some birds 
the whole of the alteration in the pluniage of the flanks is pro- 
duced by change of pattern in the old autumn feathers, in 
others the change is entirely produced by moult, while some- 
times both methods are employed by the same individual. 
In the former case, the first indication of the coming change 
may be observed in the beginning of November, or even 
earlier, when many of the flank-feathers show traces of an 
irregular buff stripe or spot near the terminal half of the 
shaft (fig. 7). As the birds only change about half their flank- 
feathers, these buff marks are only to be observed on such as 
are destined to undergo alteration of pattern, which, roughly 
speaking, means every second or third feather. The buff spot 
gradually enlarges and spreads along the shaft, then becomes 
constricted at intervals, and breaks up into patches, which 

kED GROUSE. 269 

gradually extend laterally towards the margins of the webs, 
forming wide irregular buff bands (fig. 8). Meanwhile the 
interspaces become black, and the rufous of autumn dies out. 

" When the summer feathers are supplied by moult, they 
usually begin to make their appearance about the beginning of 
March, and even when fully grown, they may generally be recog- 
nised from those produced by change of pattern by their more 
regular black and buff barring (pi. iii. fig. 9). The change of 
pattern without a moult appears to take a long time to become 
complete, for we find, as already shown, that though autumn 
feathers, altered in this way, begin to show traces of the coming 
metamorphosis as early as the beginning of November, the 
colours are often imperfectly arranged by the end of April. 
When the summer feathers are supplied entirely by moult, no 
change whatever is visible in the autumn plumage of the flank- 
feathers till about the end of February, when the first new 
feathers begin to appear, though we have noted a single 
instance of one summer feather making its appearance as early 
as the middle of December. 

" There can be no doubt that the male completes his autumn 
moult very much more quickly than the female does, many 
males being in full autumn plumage by the beginning of Sep- 
tember. Possibly this may be accounted for by the resources 
of the female being more severely taxed than those of the male 
during the breeding season. It may very naturally be asked 
why some females should change their summer flank-feathers 
by moult, while others are enabled to arrive at the same result 
by going through the much less exhaustive process of re- 
decorating their old autumn feathers, and making them serve 
the purpose of new breeding plumage. This is a difficult 
question to answer, but it seems natural to suppose that the 
more vigorous birds gain their summer flank-feathers by moult, 
while nature has enabled the weaker individuals to obtain the 
necessary protective nesting plumage by a more gradual and 
less exhaustive process. 

" C Feathers of the Chest. 
'* The summer change of the feathers of the fore-neck and 
chest in the female Red Grouse is similar to that which takes 
place on the sides and fl.anks, but is very much more complete, 

270 ALLEN'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

all the feathers being \Yiclely barred with black and yellowish- 
buff by the beginning of May (pi. iii. fig. 12). 

" As will be easily understood, these being conspicuous parts 
of the bird when she is sitting on her eggs, it is most important 
for her that the protective black and buff plumage should be 
complete. The greater part of this change is generally pro- 
duced by moult ; but, as is the case with the flank-feathers, 
some individuals (probably less robust females) attain the 
change without moulting. The same rearrangement of the 
pigment described in speaking of the flanks takes place in the 
chest-feathers, and the finely mottled and barred, rufous and 
black, autumn plumage becomes widely barred with black and 

Young BiruB in July resemble the adult female in breeding 
plumage in their general colour, but the flank-feathers of the 
adult plumage begin to appear about this time. By the month 
of November the young are generally not to be distinguished 
from the adults. 

Nestling. — In this and all the other species of Lagopiis^ the 
nestling is covered with fluffy yellow down, with rich brown 
pattern on the upper-parts. 

Range. — Confined to the British Islands. 

Habits. — " This species inhabits the open moors covered with 
heath and ling from sea-level, but is not found above the limits 
where these plants grow, its place being taken on the mountain 
tops of many parts of Scotland by the Ptarmigan. Unlike the 
Black Game, the Red Grouse is strictly monogamous, each 
male pairing with one female only, and assisting her to rear the 
young. The nesting season is, roughly speaking, in April and 
May, but varies according to locality and season, eggs being 
sometimes found much earlier and as late as June, though the 
latter are probably second sittings, the first having been 
destroyed. The female in her black and buff summer garb is 
practically invisible when sitting on her nest, her colours har- 
monising perfectly with her surroundings." 

As the young Grouse become strong on the wing and the 
season advances, the various coveys, especially if the weather is 
wet and stormy, soon unite their forces and go about in large 


flocks known as "packs," the males and females gerern'ly form- 
ing separate parties ; and it is not uncommon to find that all 
the birds killed in one drive are cocks, while on another beat 
the reverse obtains. (Grant, I.e.). 

Nest. — A slight hollow in the ground, sheltered by the longer 
heather and grass, and lined with moss and grass or such 
materials as chance to be on the spot. (Grant, /.c). — Varying in number from seven to ten and sometimes 
more. The ground-colour is pale cream or buff, spotted and 
blotched all over w^ith dark reddish-brown, which often nearly 
conceals the ground-colour. Average measurements, 175 by 
1-32 inches. (Grant, I.e.). 


Lagopiis einereus, Macgilj. Brit. B. i. p. 187 (1837). 

Lagopus w2/r///5 (Montin) ; Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 157, pis. 477, 
478 (1874); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 144 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 83 (1883); Lilford, 
Col. Fig. Brit. B. part iii. (1888) ; Saunders, Man. Brit. 
B. p. 483 (1889); Grant, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 44 
(1893) ; id. in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. p. 38 (1895). 

Tetrao imitus, Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 424 (1884). 

Adult Male and Female at all seasons.* — Outer tail-feathers black, 
with only the bases and tips more or less white; flight-feathers 
always white ; bill much more slender than in the Red Grouse 
or Willow Grouse; wing shorter, males measuring about 7-5 
inches from the bend of the wing to the end of the longest 

Adult Male and Female, Winter Plumage. — General plumage 
and middle pair of tail-feathers white, with a black patch in 
front of the eye in the male, which is absent or rudimentary in 
the female. 

Adult Male, Summer Plumage.— Head, upper-parts, middle 
pair of tail-feathers, sides, and flanks dark brown, mottled and 

• The descriptions are again taken from Mr. Ogilvie Grant's volume (J.c). 

272 Allen's naturalist's library. 

barred with grey and rusty ; breast brownish-black, sometimes 
more or less barred and mottled with buff; rest of under parts 

Adult Female, Summer Plumage. — General colour above black, 
mixed with rufous-buff, most of the feathers being edged with 
whitish-buff; middle pair of tail-feathers and under parts 
rufous-buff, barred with black. 

Adult Male and Female, Autumn Plumage. — Upper parts, middle 
pair of tail-feathers, breast, and sides grey, finely mottled with 
black, and sometimes with buff; rest of under-parts white. 
The female may generally be distinguished by having some 
feathers of the faded summer plumage remaining among the 
grey autumn plumage. 

Male : Total length, 14*5 inches ; wing, 7*6; tail, 4-6 : tar- 
sus, 1-3. 

Female: Total length, 14 inches; wing, 7*4; tail, 4-1; tar- 
sus 1-3. 

For the changes of plumage through which the Ptarmigan 
passes, the reader is referred to the most excellent account 
published by Mr. J. G. Millais in his " Game Birds and Shoot- 
ing Sketches," quoted by Mr. Grant {t.c. p. 39). 

Range in Great Britain. — Only found in the higher mountains 
of Scotland. 

Rang outside the British Islands. — The Ptarmigan inhabits the 
mountains of Europe south of the Alps and the Pyrenees, east 
to the Ural Mountains, and probably some of the higher ranges 
of Central Asia. 

Habits. — Mr. Ogilvie Grant gives the following account of the 
habits of the species : — ''The home of the Ptarmigan is among 
the high stony table-lands and rocks above the limits of tree- 
growth and heaths. Like the Willow Grouse, the plumage of 
the male varies greatly in different localities, and the amount 
of white feathers retained during the summer and autumn 
plumages is greatly affected by the latitude which the birds 
inhabit, examples from the north of Norway retaining much 
white in the upper parts throughout the summer months. 
This does not apply to the females, all of which get their full 
summer breeding-dress, which is no doubt essential for their 


protection during the nesting season, In the same way, the 
mixed plumage of the males no doubt renders them less con- 
spicuous among the patches of snow which, in the more 
northern latitudes, are not melted during the short summer. 
The general habits of the Ptarmigan resemble those of the 
Grouse, their monogamous habits, mode of nesting and feeding, 
being much the same ; but the call is very different from the 
bee of the latter, and is more of a hoarse croak. The 
female is an excellent mother, taking the greatest care of her 
young, and boldly menacing any unexpected intruder who may 
come on her unawares. She flutters along the ground or runs 
towards her supposed enemy with drooping wings and halting 
gait to attract attention, while the young disappear as by magic, 
and vanish among the crevices of the stones. Ptarmigan 
depend greatly for safety on the perfect harmony of_ their 
plumage with their natural surroundings, and it is astonishing 
to see how they will sometimes rise all round one, almost from 
under one's feet, on comparatively bare ground, without any 
previous evidence of their presence." 

Nestling, Nest, and Eggs. — Similar to those of the Red Grouse, 
but the eggs of the latter are rather smaller, less thickly covered 
with blotches, and more buff in general appearance. 

Lyruriis, Swains. Faun. Bor. Amer. Birds, p. 497 (1831). 

Type, Z. tetrix (Linn.). 
The genus Lyrurus differs from Lagopus in having the feet 
feathered, but the toes are naked and pectinate on the sides. 
There are eighteen tail-feathers, and the outer pair are curved 
outwards in the male. 

Only two species of Lyrurus are known, our own Black 
Grouse, and L. mlokosieiviczi of the Caucasus Mountains. 


Tetrao tetrix, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 274 (1766); Macgill. Brit. 
B. i. p. 145 (1837); Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 205, pi. 487 
(1873); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 145 (^883); Saunders, 

15 ' 

274 ALLEN'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 60 (1883); Seebohm, Hist. 
Brit. B. ii. p. 435 (1884) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part 
vii. (1888); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 479 (1889). 
Lyrurus tetrix^ Grant, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 53 (1893). 
id. in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. p. 45 (1895). 

Adult Male. — Plumage mostly black ; the under tail-coverts 
pure white. Total length, 23-5 inches; wing, 10*3; tail, 8*8; 
tarsus, I "9. 

Adult Female. — Plumage mostly rufous and buff, barred with 
black, the black bars on the breast being much coarser than 
in the female of L, 7nlokosiewiczi, and the tail shorter. Total 
length, 17 inches; wing, 8*9; tail, 4*5; tarsus, 1*6. 

Nestling-. — Covered with yellowish down, patterned with 
chestnut-brown on the upper parts. 

Changes of Plumage."^ — During the heavy autumn moult, 
which takes place in July and August, when the males are 
entirely devoid of tails and generally incapable of flying more 
than a few yards at most, a temporary protective plumage, like 
that of the female, clothes the head and neck, and the throat 
becomes more or less white. The object of this change is 
obvious, for the black head and neck of the male are con- 
spicuous objects among the heather and rushes, but the 
rufous-buff feathers, with their black bars and marks, harmonise 
perfectly with these surroundings and enable the defenceless 
birds to escape the observation of their enemies. The barred 
feathers of the head and neck are not cast and replaced by 
black till the rest of the plumage has been renewed, and the 
bird is once more able to fly. 

The young male, unlike that of the Caucasian Black Grouse, 
attains the black adult plumage at the first autumn moult, and 
by November resembles the old male, but some of the finely 
mottled shoulder-feathers and inner flight-feathers of the first 
plumage are generally retained till the second season, and the 
outer tail-feathers are shorter and less beautifully curved. 

Females that have become barren from age or accident 
commonly assume the male plumage to a greater or less ex- 

* The descriptions of the plumage are copied from Mr. Ogilvie Grant's 
volume {I.e.). 


tent, some examples having much black in the plumage and a 
very well developed forked black tail, each feather being 
prettily edged with white. One peculiarity of these birds is 
the colour of the throat, which in the most fully plumaged 
examples is pure white. 

The only time when the throat of the male is white, or 
partially so, is during the short period when the temporary 
hen-like plumage covers the head and neck. At that season 
the throat becomes white or thickly spotted with white. No 
doubt this is the source whence the pure white throat of the 
barren female is derived. 

Rang-e in Great Britain. — Principally found in Scotland and 
the North of England at the present day, but formerly distri- 
buted over England in localities suited to its habits. It is still 
to be found in many parts of England and Wales, and is an 
inhabitant of the wilder districts of the south-western counties. 

Rang-e outside the British Islands. — Europe and Northern 
and Central Asia, eastwards to the River Kohma, North- 
eastern Siberia, southwards to the Eastern Pyrenees, North 
Italy, Northern Caucasus, Tian Shan, and Peking, and north- 
wards to about 69° N. lat. {Ogilvie Gra?it). 

Habits. — Mr. Ogilvie Grant writes : — " Pine and birch-forests 
are the true home of this bird, and though, when feeding, it may 
often be met with on the open moors or in the stubble-fields at 
a considerable distance from any covert, it is truly a denizen of 
the woods, and passes the greater part of its existence on the 
branches, where, unlike the Red Grouse, it is perfectly at 
home. Black Grouse, like other Game-Birds, are extremely 
partial to grain, and in some parts of Scotland, where they are 
still numerous, frequent the stubble fields in enormous flocks, 
generally in the early morning and towards evening. They 
are polygamous— that is to say, one male pairs with many 
females, and generally towards the end of March or beginning 
of April the pairing season commences, when the cocks are 
in the habit of repairing at dawn and sunset to some par- 
ticular spot to display their charms to the females and give 
battle to their rivals. 

"The extraordinary pantomime gone through by each male 
as he struts round the arena, generally an open patch of ground 

T 2 

276 ALLEN'S naturalist's LIBRARY. 

worn nearly bare by constant traffic, is most entertaining to 
observe. With drooping wings, outspread tail, and many other 
curious antics, accompanied by an occasional spring into the 
air, he attempts to secure the goodwill of the ladies, and when 
two birds meet, a slight skirmish, in which a few feathers are 
lost, takes place. As a rule, no serious fights, such as one sees 
between Red Grouse, occur, merely a * round with the gloves,' 
to entertain the ladies of the harem ; but occasionally, when 
two rivals chance to meet, a furious ' set-to ' may be witnessed, 
the fight lasting till one or both birds are thoroughly exhausted, 
bleeding, and torn. These strange entertainments last till the 
females — or ' Grey-hens,' as they are called — have laid all their 
eggs and commenced to sit, when the males are seen no more, 
the hatching of the eggs and rearing of the young being ex- 
clusively the task of the females." 

Nest. — A slight hollow in the ground, scratched out and with 
little lining; usually well concealed. 

Eg-g-s. — Generally six to ten in number. Buff, spotted with 
rich brown. Average measurements, 2 inches by i"4. 


Tetrao^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 273 (1766). 

Type, T. urogallus^ Linn. 

The Capercailzies are the largest of the Grouse, and have 

eighteen tail-feathers like the Black Grouse. The tail is 

rounded or wedge-shaped, differing from that of the genus 

Lyrurus in this respect. 


Tetrao nrogaUus^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 273 (1766); Macgill. 
Brit. B. i. p. 138 (1837); Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 223, 
pi. 490 (1873); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 145 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 45 (1883); Seebohm, 
Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 440 (1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. 
p. 477 (1889) ; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 60 
(1893); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxviii. (i 
Ogilvie Grant in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. p. 49 (1895). 


Adult Male.* — Above dark grey, shading into reddish-brown 
on the wings and finely mottled with black ; a metallic green 
band across the chest, and the throat glossed with the same 
colour. Middle of the back not barred with black ; the 
shoulder-feathers not tipped with white ; and the breast and 
belly black, a few feathers in the middle being tipped with 
white. Totallength, 35 inches j wing, 14*6; tail, i2'3; tarsus, 

Adult Female. — Middle of the back rufous and buff, strongly 
barred with black ; breast and belly buff or whitish - buff, 
barred with black ; general colour of the plumage darker 
than in T. uraknsis, the white tips to the scapulars being 
narrower. Total length, 25 inches; wing, ii'7j tail, 7*3; 
tarsus, 2* I. 

Younger Males resemble the adult, but are smaller, and the 
white band across the tail is wanting. 

Nestling. — Very similar to that of Z. tefrix. 

Range in Great Britain. — Formerly indigenous to Great Britain, 
the Capercailzie became extinct, and has been re-introduced. 
It is now found in Perthshire, Forfarshire, and the neigh- 
bouring districts. 

Range outside the British Islands. — This species is an inhabitant 
of the pine-forests in the mountain-ranges of Europe, extending 
to North-eastern Turkestan, the Altai Mountains, as far east 
as Lake Baikal. 

Habits. — The following account has been published by the 
late Mr. Lloyd in his well-known work, " The Game Birds and 
Wild Fowl of Sweden and Norway":— 

" The whereabouts of the Lek-staile^ of which mention was 
made in the last chapter, having been ascertained, the gunnei 
— for a sportsman he can hardly be called — proceeds to the 
spot, either overnight (in which case he bivouacs in its vicinity), 
or at a very early hour in the morning. ' He should be there,' 
we are told, ' by the first dawn of day, when the Woodcock 
begins to rode^ and the shrill notes of the Woodlark {Alauda 
aj'dorea, Linn.) — hence called the Tj cider- kiockan, or the 
Capercali-watch— are heard in the forest." 

* Desciiptions taken from Mi". Ogilvie Grant's volume [I.e.). 

278 Allen's naturalist's library. 

" Here the man listens in profound silence until he hears the 
spel of the cock, then, for the most part, perched on or near to 
the top of a pine. Sheltering himself as much as possible 
behind trees and other cover, he stealthily approaches the 
bird ; but, owing to imperfect daylight and thickness of the 
wood, he is often unable to see it until close upon it. So long, 
however, as the first and second notes, kndppningen and khmken, 
last, he must remain stationary, and, if in an exposed situation, 
immovable as a statue. But when the bird's third note, sis- 
7iingen, commences, which, as said, continues only a very short 
time — and in the while the bird is all but blind and deaf — he 
takes three to four steps, or rather strides, in advance, when he 
again halts. Should all remain perfectly quiet, however, the bird 
almost immediately recommences its spel, and, when it once 
more comes to sisiiingen^ the man, as before, moves forward 
several steps ; and by thus alternately halting and advancing 
he at length arrives within gunshot of the Capercali, whose 
fate is then soon sealed. 

" The Capercali during its spel is very watchful ; and the 
fowler must therefore be exceedingly guarded in his move- 
ments while thus stealing on it ; and at such times as the 
bird is heard, although not seen, he should, of all things, avoid 
looking about him. Want of caution on the part of the fowler 
in this matter has saved the lives of many Capercali. Its eye, 
indeed, is said to be so piercing as more readily to discover 
the face and hands of the man, if they be uncovered, than his 
person ; and some, therefore, deem it advisable not only to 
wear gloves but to hold down the head. 

"The fowler should also be careful never to advance until 
the stsnifigen has actually commenced, for an old Capercali 
cock that has previously started will, perhaps, when one imagines 
it is on the very point of beginning the last-named note, 
suddenly stop in its spel ; and if one then advances, will 
most assuredly take wing. When again the man halts after 
stsningen^ it should be in an easy position ; so that, 
however long he may have to w^ait before the bird recom- 
mences its spel, it will not be needful for him to change it for 

During the early part of the Spring, when the cock carries 
on his spel quite alone, he runs the greatest risk of his life ; 


but when, at an after period, he is joined by the hens, they 
act the part of his guardian angels. On the least appearance 
of peril, they, to put him on his guard, utter a peculiar kind of 
cackle, and should not this suffice to attract his attention, one 
or other of them will straightways fly past the tree on which he 
is perched, and at times so near to him as apparently to strike 
him with the tip of her wing, which unmistakable hint he cannot 
but comprehend, and, as a consequence, moves off at once 
' in the wake ' of his kind monitress. 

" Happily but few hens, comparatively speaking, are shot at 
the Lek-stiiiie, partly because they are more wary than the cock, 
but chiefly, I take it, owing to the fowler having other and 
better game in view. Indeed, were a proportionate slaughter 
to take place amongst them, the breed, in some parts of Scan- 
dinavia, must soon become extinct. As it is, the cocks are so 
ruthlessly shot down during the pairing season that a large 
portion of hens are unable to find mates ; and hence the 
number of barren birds (^Gall-Honor) one meets with in the 
forest. Were people to refrain from killing the cocks until the 
spring is well advanced, and pairing for the most part over, no 
great harm would be done, and they still might have ample 
amusement ; for the cocks, especially the young ones, continue, 
as said, to spel until the middle of May, or it may be even 

" The number of Capercali — of cock?, I speak — that a man 
may thus kill at the Lek-stdlle within a given time depends 
greatly on circumstances. If, for instance, the weather be 
boisterous, or there be a crust on the snow, which in more 
northern parts of Scandinavia often remains on the ground 
until late in the spring, it may happen that even the most 
experienced chasseur will hardly kill a single bird in a week ; 
but under favourable circumstances, on the contrary, a good 
deal may be done. I, myself, have known more than one man 
to shoot from five to six of these birds in the course of the 
morning and evening of the same day, but one or two is a 
more usual number. A peasant in the interior, however, who 
knows what he is about, and devotes much of his time to the 
purpose as many do, will probably kill from fifteen to tw^enty 
cocks during the spring. I was, indeed, assured by an 
acquaintance of mine, who resided in the heart of Wermeland 

28o Allen's naturalists library. 

Finn Forests, that one particular spring he shot no less than 
twenty-nine. This, in a country where nearly everyone carries 
a gun, will give some idea of the havoc that is thus annually 
made amongst the-e noble birds. 

" In the northern parts of Scandinavia the Capercali is 
generally shot at the Lek-stiille with a small pea-rifle ; but 
in the south the shot-gun is almost universally used for the 

Nest. — Similar to that of the Black Grouse. 

Eggs. — Like those of the Black Grouse, but larger. Axis, 
2*2 inches; diam., i-6. 



The Partridges are distinguished from the Pheasants by their 
shorter tail, which is much shorter than the wing. The first 
quill is equal to or longer than the tenth. 


Caccabis, Kaup. Natiirl. Syst. p. 183 (1829). 

Type, C. saxatilis (W. & M.). 


Tetrao riifa, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 276 (1766). 

Ferdix rubra, Macgill. Brit. B. i. p. 215 (1837). 

Caccabis rufa, Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 103, pi. 471, fig. i. 

(1875); B. O.U. List Brit. B. p. 141 (1883); Lilford, 

Col. Fig. Brit. B. part viii. (1888); Grant, Cat. B. Brit. 

Mus. xxii. p. 118 (1893); id. in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. 

p. 96 (1895). 
Ferdix ricfa, Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 115 (1883) ; 

Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 457 (1884); Saunders, 

Man. Brit. B. p. 489 (1889). 


Adult Mal3. — Above greyish olive-brown ; feathers of the 
sides of the chest broadly margined with black ; throat sur- 
rounded by a black band; belly bright rufous buff; flank- 
feathers pale grey, followed by a narrow white, and then a 
narrow black band, ending in a broader band of dark chestnut ; 
outer tail-feathers dark chestnut. Total length, 13*6 inches ; 
wing, 6-2; tail, 37; tarsus, 17. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 13 inches ; 
wing, 6*o ; tail, 3*6; tarsus, i'6. 

Range in Great Britain. — Mr. Saunders writes : — "The Red- 
legged Partridge was successfully acclimatised in England 
about 1770 ; and as the result of this and subsequent introduc- 
ductions it is now thoroughly established in Sufi'olk, Norfolk, 
Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, some of the Midlands, 
and on dry ground along the northern side of the Thames 

Range outside the British Islands. — An inhabitant of South- 
western Europe, ranging north to Belgium and Switzerland, 
and in the south to Madeira, the Azores, and Gran Canary, 
and in the east to South and Central Italy, also to Elba, 
Corsica, and the Balearic Islands (Grant). A dark form, 
called C. hispanica, occurs in Spain ; it has been figured 
in Mr. Ogilvie Grant's volume (pi. x.). 

Habits. — Mr. Ogilvie Grant writes : — " This remarkably hand- 
some species was first introduced into the south-eastern 
counties of Great Britain about a century ago. Like the rest 
of its allies, it is an inveterate runner, and generally prefers to 
escape from approaching danger on foot, which it does with 
great rapidity, seldom taking to flight unless hard pressed or 
suddenly disturbed. When once on the wing, however, the flight 
is rapid and straight, and for this reason these birds afford capital 
sport when driven ; but if shot over dogs or walked up in cover 
their cursorial habits are alike detestable to man and dog, for 
the Red-legs not only seldom rise themselves till they are at the 
other end of the field and probably far out of shot, but disturb 
and put up any coveys of Grey Partridges they may chance 
to pass on their course. They are very partial to hedgerows or 
the edges of plantations and long grass or rushes, and when 

282 Allen's naturalist's library. 

flushed, occasionally perch on a neighbouring tree, which the 
Grey Partridge, so far as we are aware, never does. In the 
pairing season the Red-legs are very pugnacious, fighting 
fiercely not only with the males of their own kind, but also 
with those of the Grey Partridge, which, being much smaller 
birds, are in most cases driven from the field. Eggs of the 
latter species, as well as those of the Common Pheasant, are 
sometimes found in the nests of C. rufa^ and are doubtless laid 
there by the females instead of in their own nest, an irregular 
habit by no means rare among Game-Birds." 

Nest. — " A hollow scratched in the ground under the shelter 
of a hedge, tall grass, or growing crops." (Grant, I.e.') 

Eggs. — "Ten to eighteen in number, and sometimes more. 
Pale stone-colour or buff, more or less thickly dotted and 
spotted, and sometimes blotched with dark reddish-brown. 
Average measurements, i"55 by 1*2 inch." (Grant, I.e.) 


Perdix^ Brisson, Orn. i. p. 219 (1760). 

Type, P. perdix (Linn.). 

The genus Perdix., of which our well-known Partridge is the 

type, has the feathers scarcely extending below the tibio-tarsal 

joint, and the tail-feathers are sixteen or eighteen in number. 

The first primary is intermediate in length between the seventh 

and eighth, and the fourth is slightly the longest. The feet 

are without spurs in either sex, and the plumage of both is 

alike or slightly different. (Cf. Grant, in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. 

P- I43-) 

Four species of Perdix are known, viz., P. perdix of Europe, 
P. dauriea of North-Eastern Asia, P. hodgsonice of Thibet, and 
P. sifaniea of Kansu. 

Tetrao perdix, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 276 (1766). 

* Mr. Ogilvie Grant's account of the difference of the plumage in the 
sexes is most interesting and is quoted here /;; exteiiso. 



Perdix cinerea^ Lath.; Macgill. Brit. B. i. p. 218 (1837); 

Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 131, pi. 475 (1878); B. O. U. 

List. Brit. B. p. 142 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's 

Brit. B. iii. p. 105 (1883); Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. 

p. 452 (1884); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part ix. (1888) ; 

Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 487 (1889). 
Perdix perdix, Grant, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 185 (1893); 

id. in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. p. 143 (1895). 

{Plate C XX III.) 
Adult Male. — General colour above brownish-buff (washed 
with grey in birds from Northern Europe), with narrow, close- 
set, wavy cross-bars and lines of black ; lesser and median 
wing-coverts and scapulars blotched on the inner web with 
chestnut, and with only buff shaft-stripes (fig. i). Top of the 
head brown, rest of the head, throat, and neck chestnut; breast 
grey, finely mottled with black, below which is a large horse- 
shoe-shaped chestnut patch ; rest of under-parts whitish ; first 
flight-feather with extremity rounded; feet horn-grey. Total 
length, 12*6 inches; wing, 6 '2; tail, 3*5; tarsus, 17. 

Adult Female. — Easily distinguished from the male by having 
the ground-colour of the lesser and median wing-coverts and 
scapulars mostly black, with wide-set buff cross-bars, in addition 
to the longitudinal buff shaft-stripe down the middle of each 
feather (figs. 2 and 3) ; and the chestnut patch on the breast 
small, or sometimes absent. 

Immature examples of both sexes exhibit the characteristics of 
the adult, but may be recognised by having the first primary 
flight-feather pointed at the extremity instead of being rounded, 
and the feet yellowish horn-colour. 

The immature female has generally a well-developed chestnut 
horse-shoe mark on the breast. 

Range. — Europe and Western and Central Asia, extending 
in the west to Scandinavia and the British Isles, in the east to 
the Barabinska Steppes and Altai Mountains, and in the south 
to Northern Spain and Portugal, Naples, the Caucasus, Asia 
Minor, and North Persia. 

Mr. Ogilvie Grant writes : — "As considerable interest attaches 
to the sexual differences in plumage in the Common Partridge, 
it may be worth while to republish here the substance of my 



articles on this subject which appeared in the 'Field' (Nov. 
21, 1891 ; April 9, 1892). 

"In every text-book on ornithology which gives a description 
of the plumage in the male and female of the Common Par- 

Fig. 2. 


Fig. I. — Median wing-covert of male Partridi^e. Figs, 2 & 3. — Median 
wing-coverts of female Partridge. 

tridge we find that the chief difference mentioned as distin- 
guishing the two sexes is, that the male has a large chestnut 
horse- shoe-shaped mark on the lower breast, while in the female 
this marking is reduced to a few chestnut spots, or is some- 
times entirely absent. This character, as we first pointed out 


in the ' Field/ is not to be depended on, for the great 
majority of young females — by which we mean birds of the 
year — have a well-developed chestnut horse-shoe, and in some, 
for instance birds from Leicestershire, it is quite as large 
and perfectly developed as in the majority of adult male birds. 
Young females from Norfolk and Suffolk are, however, gene- 
rally exceptions to this rule, and, like the majority of old 
females, have merely a few chestnut spots on the middle of 
the lower breast, and in this part of England it is rare to 
meet with anything like a perfect horse-shoe in young birds of 
this sex, while examples may be found without a trace of 
chestnut, and are commonly known as birds with a white 
horseshoe. As remarked above, the birds of the year, whether 
male or female, are easily distinguished from old birds by 
having the first flight-feather pointed instead of rounded at 
the extremity. The colour of the feet and toes is also, of 
course, a good character for distinguishing young birds from 
old ones in the earlier part of the season, but at the com- 
mencement of hard weather the yellowish-brown feet, denoting 
youth, having generally changed to bluish-grey, are perfectly 
similar to those of the adult, while the pointed first flight- 
feather is retained till the following autumn moult. The only 
reliable character for distinguishing the sexes at all ages, 
except in very young birds in their first plumage, is in the 
markings of the lesser and median wing-coverts and scapulars, 
the buff cross-bars in the female being an unmistakable mark, 
and quite sufficient to distinguish her from a male at a 
glance. It is now some years since we first drew attention 
to these rather important differences, which had hitherto been 
entirely overlooked, and we may now safely say that, though 
many people, especially sportsmen, were at first disinclined to 
believe in this character being a sexual difference, and tested 
it severely, it has, so far, never been found to fail. To con- 
vince gamekeepers of these facts is in most cases a hopeless 
task — that the horse-shoe mark on the breast is a certain 
sign of the male is ' bred in the bone,' having been handed 
down as gospel for generations. One Scotch keeper in par- 
ticular, at a place where we have enjoyed many a pleasant 
day's Partridge shooting, rises before our mind, and the 
remembrance of this excellent and extremely obstinate soul 

286 Allen's naturalist's library. 

always makes us smile. Often at lunch-time have we started 
him on the Partridge question, merely for the fun of hearing 
him argue and stick to his opinion and that of his fore- 
fathers ; and his politely incredulous smile on being shown, by 
the help of a knife, that some particular bird with a large 
horse-shoe mark really was a female by dissection, had to be 
seen to be appreciated. But there are some people who will 
never allow that they are mistaken, and as long as this good 
man remains we may safely look forward to many a half-hour's 
amusement, though the dissection of numerous Partridges 
does not meet with our host's entire approval. It must be 
added that barren females are sometimes met with in more or 
less perfect male plumage. One barren female (by dissection) in 
the National Collection, has an enormous chestnut horse-shoe 
mark on the breast, while the wing-coverts have one web of each 
feather like that of the male, and the other barred as in the 
ordinary female. This, and one other example, are the only 
two that have come under our notice, though we have examined 
thousands of birds, and we may safely conclude that they are 
by no means common." 

Varieties. — A curious rufous variety of the Common Partridge 
(see vol. ix. pi. xii.) was first described under the name of Perdix 
montana by Brisson,* who believed it to represent a distinct 
species. This is not, however, the case, as every intermediate 
phase of plumage between the Common Partridge and the 
most extreme chestnut form can be found. The finest 
examples of this variety have the whole head and neck dull 
rust-red and the remainder of the plumage dark chestnut, 
except the thighs and lower part of the belly, which are 
whitish, as well as some bars and markings on the wing-coverts 
and scapulars. Brisson's specimens were obtained in the 
mountains of Lorraine, but fine examples have also been pro- 
cured in Northumberland, Cheshire, and Wiltshire in England, 
as well as from other localities, and there can be no doubt 
that this form is merely a sport of nature or accidental variety 
in which the chestnut colour pervades the whole plumage. 
Equally perfect examples of both sexes have been obtained. 
Grey, cream-coloured, and white examples of the Common 

* Orn. i. p. 224, pi. xxi. fig. 2 (1760). 


Partridge are sometimes met with, but are by no means 
common, and generally prove to be birds of the year, probably 
because birds of peculiar plumage are generally shot down or 
killed by birds of prey, &:c., while still young, being more con- 
spicuous than their neighbours (Grant, /.^.)- 

Nest. — A slight hollow in the ground, roughly lined with a 
few dry grasses, &c., and sheltered by rough grass, growing 
crops, or bushes. 

Eggs. — Ten to fifteen, and sometimes as many as twenty, 
in shape pointed ovals ; uniform pale olive-brown in colour. 
Average measurements, 1-4 by I'l inch. 


Cotuniix^ Bonn. Enc. Meth. Intr. pp. Ixxxviii. 216(1790). 
Type, C. cotiirnix (Linn.). 

Tail composed of ten or twelve feathers, short, soft, and 
hidden by the upper tail-coverts ; less than half the length of 
the wing. First primary flight-feather about equal to the third, 
the second being generally slightly the longest; in some instances 
the first three feathers are sub-equal, or the first may even be a 
trifle the longest. Axillary feathers long and white. Feet with- 
out spurs. Sexes different in plumage {Gra?if). 


Tetrao cotiirnix, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 278 (1766). 

Coturnix dactylisonans, Macgill. Brit. B. i. p. 233 (1837). 

Cohirnix communis, Bonn. ; Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 143, pi. 476 
(1878); B. O. U. List. Brit. B. p. 143 (1883); Saunders, 
ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 123 (1883); Seebohm, Hist. 
Brit. B. ii. p. 462 (1884); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 491 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxvii. (1893). 

Coturnix coturnix, Grant, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 231 (1893) ; 
id. in Allen's Nat. Libr. ix. p. 180 (1895). 
Adult Male. — General colour above sandy-brown, with pale 

buff shaft-stripes and black bars and markings ; chin and throat 

white, with a black anchor-shaped mark down the middle ; 

* The account of the plumages and habits of the Quail are taken entirely 
from Mr. Ogilvie Grant's volume on the Game-Birds. 

2S8 Allen's naturalist's library. 

chest rufous-buff, with pale shafts ; rest of under-parts paler. 
Total length, 67 inches ; wing, 4*2 ; tail, 1*5 ; tarsus, i"o. 

Adult Female. — Differs from the male in having no black band 
down the middle of the throat, and the chest more or less 
thickly spotted with brownish-black. From the female of C. 
jap07iica it may be readily distinguished by having the feathers 
on the chin and sides of the throat short and rounded. 

The male described above is a typical example of C. coturnix. 
As considerable variation is to be found in the coloration of 
the chin and throat, and their black markings, it may be 
as well to give here the substance of the remarks I have 
published on this subject. The Migratory Quail* has been 
constantly confused with two more or less resident local forms, 
C. capensis, found in South Africa, &c., and C. japonica, from 
Japan and China. The former is probably nothing more than 
a more richly coloured, rather smaller, resident local race of 
C. cotur7iix^ but the latter is a perfectly distinct and easily 
characterised species. The migratory bird, wandering over an 
immensely wide range, visits the countries inhabitated by both 
these forms, and constantly inter-breeds with them, the result 
being that all sorts of intermediate forms occur. The male of 
C. jap07iica has the chin and throat dull brick-red, devoid of 
any black markings, and the intermediate plumages between 
this species and the migratory birds are most noticeable among 
the male hybrids. For instance, some have the dull brick-red 
throat of C. japo?tica, and the black, anchor-shaped mark of C. 
coturnix ; others have only the upper two-thirds of the throat 
dull red, and the lower third white ; while, again, a third lot 
have, in addition, a black band down the middle of the red 
part ; and all kinds of intermediate stages between these three 
examples may be found. These hybrids are, so i"ar as I know, 
generally only met with in Mongolia, China, and Japan, though 
there is one skin among the large series in the National Collec- 
tion said to have been obtained in Bootan, N. India. 

The Migratory Quail also inter-breeds freely with the chest- 
nut-throated form (C. capensis) found in S. Africa and the 
islands surrounding the coast, and the results are to be seen in 

* Mr. Grant calls C. cottirnix the Migratory Quail to distinguish it 
from the non-migratory species, C. capensis. 

QtJAiL. 289 

the many male birds from S. Africa and Southern Europe, &c., 
in which the white parts on the sides of the head and throat 
are more or less suffused with the bright rufous-chestnut 
characteristic of the resident bird. 

A curious variety or semi-melanistic form of C. coturnix 
occurs in Spain, in the marshy neighbourhood of Valencia. 
A male in the British Museum has the general colour of the 
plumage black, and the female has the under parts suffused 
with sooty-brown. 

Range. — Africa, Europe, and Asia, except in the south-east 
portion. A summer visitor to Great Britain, some remaining 
in mild winters. 

Habits. — The migratory habits of this species are well known 
to most people, but though the great majority — countless hosts 
of Quail, which may be numbered by millions rather than 
thousands — shift their quarters in September and October, on 
the approach of winter, and move southwards, in many places 
a certain number remain and spend the winter where they have 
bred. For instance, in the South of England and Ireland, and 
in the countries bordering the Mediterranean, a few remain to 
winter, but the bulk of the European summer visitors betake 
themselves by various lines of migration to South Africa, 
whence they return in March and April of the following spring. 
Enormous numbers also winter in India, crossing the Hima- 
layas from Central Asia, while many arrive in Sind and 
Guzerat from the west, moving southwards from Baluchistan, 
Persia, and other northern latitudes. 

The number of migrants varies greatly in different years, 
their movements being largely, if not entirely, regulated by the 
food supply and seasonal conditions of the countries which 
they visit. 

One may form some idea of the vast number to be met 
with in some parts of India, from the following remarks by 
Tickell. He says : — " In such localities as have been above 
noticed. Quails at times abound to such a degree that shooting 
them is mere slaughter. Where birds get up at every step, dogs 
or beaters are worse than useless, and where the game is so 
plentiful, search after a wounded bird is seldom thought wonh 
the trouble. It is usual to be provided with two or three 
15 u 

290 Allen's naturalist's 

guns,* to be loaded, as fast as emptied, by a servant. With one 
gun only it would be necessary to wash out the barrels two or 
three times in the course of the afternoon, or at all events to 
wait every now and then for them to cool. A tolerably good shot 
will bag fifty to sixty brace in about three hours, and knock 
down many others that are not found. I remember one day 
getting into a deyra, or island formed by alluvial deposit, in the 
Ganges, between Patna (Bankipore) and Sonepore, which was 
sown almost entirely over with gram (chunna), and which 
literally swarmed with Quail. I do not exaggerate w^hen I say 
they w^ere like locusts in number. Every step that brushed the 
covert sent off a number of them, so that I had to stand every 
now and then like a statue and employ my arms only, and that 
in a stealthy manner, for the purpose of loading and firing. A 
furtive scratch of the head, or a wipe of the heated brow, 
dismissed a whole " bevy " into the next field ; and, in fact, the 
embarras de riches se was nearly as bad as if there had been no 
birds at all." 

Nest. — A slight hollow in the ground, with little or no lining, 
and sheltered by standing crops or grass, &c. 

Eggs. — Eight to twelve in number, but sometimes more are laid ; 
creamy-white or buff, more or less boldly blotched and spotted 
w^ith rich brown. Average measurements, i'i5 by o"88 inch. 


This Sub-family is scarcely separable from the Perdicince-, 
as in the genus Fkasianus, the first primary is about equal to 
the eighth. The tail, however, in typical Pheasants is much 
longer. than the wing, and the plumage is much more oinamental 
than in any Partridge. 

Phasia7ius, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 270 (1766). 
Type, P. colchicus, Linn. 
Tail composed of eighteen feathers, long and wedge-shaped, 
the middle pair being very much longer than the outer pair. 

* He refers to the days before breech-loaders came in. 


First primary flight-feather about equal to the eighth, and 
considerably longer than the tenth. 

The male has the sides of the head covered with naked 
scarlet skin ; there is no crest, but the ear-tufts are considerably 
lengthened, and the feet are armed with a pair of spurs 

The genus Phasiamis is almost entirely Palaearctic in habitat, 
and contains eighteen species, the stronghold of the genus 
being Central Asia. 


Phasianus colchiais^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 271 (1766); Macgill 
Brit. B. i. p. 114 (1837); Dresser, B. Eur. vii. p. 85, pi. 
469 (1879); B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 141 (1883); 
Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. p. 91 (1883); 
Seebohm, Hist. Brit. B. ii. p. 445 (1884); Saunders, Man. 
Brit. B. p. 4S5 (1889) ; Grant, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxii. p. 
320 (1893); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxxiii. (1896). 

Adult Male. — Crown of the head bronze-green; rest of the 
head and neck dark green, shading into purple on the sides 
and front of the neck. Feathers of the mantle, chest, breast, 
and flanks fiery orange, the former narrowly margined with 
purplish-green, the latter widely edged with rich purple ; those 
of the upper back and scapulars mottled in the middle with 
black and buff, margined by consecutive bands of buff, black, 
and orange-red, and tipped with purplish-lake. Lower back, 
rump, and upper tail-coverts red maroon, glossed with purplish- 
lake or oily green, according to the way the skin is held. 
Most of the wing-coverts sandy-brown ; middle of breast and 
sides of belly dark purplish-green j middle of belly and rest of 
under parts dark brown mixed with rufous. Tail-feathers 
olive down the middle, with narrow, wide-set, black bars, and 
widely edged on each side with rufous, glossed with purplish - 
lake. Total length, 37-5 inches; wing, ici ; tail, 21*2; 
tarsus, 2-8. 

Adult Female. — General colour sandy-brown, barred with 
black; back and sides of the neck tinged with pinkish and 

* The account of this species is again copied from Mr. Ogilvie Grant's 
volume (Allen's Nat. Libr. xii. p. 9). 

U 2 

292 Allen's naturalist's library. 

with metallic purple or green margins ; feathers of the mantle 
and sides of the breast and flanks chestnut, with black centres 
and pinkish-grey margins ; an elongated patch of white black- 
tipped feathers below the eyes; quills more coarsely barred and 
motded with buff than in the male ; tail-feathers reddish-brown 
down the middle, shading into sandy-olive on the sides and 
with wide irregular triple bars of black, buff, and black. Total 
length, 24'5 inches; wing, S'6 ; tail, ii'5 ; tarsus, 2"4. 

Range. — The Common Pheasant has been introduced in 
most parts of Europe, with the exception of Spain and 
Portugal, and the higher latitudes of Scandinavia and Russia. 
For this reason it is difficult, if not impossible, to state 
accurately the limits of its true home. It appears, however, to 
be found in a wild state in Southern Turkey, Greece, and Asia 
Minor as far east as Transcaucasia, and it extends northwards 
to the Volga. On the Island of Corsica it is also met with in 
a wild state, and may have been imported at some remote 
period; but if it is really indigenous there, its range must formerly 
have extended much farther west than the counties mentioned 

There is no record, as far as we know, of its importation to 
the British Islands, but it is mentioned in the bills-of-fare of 
the last Saxon king. 

Habits. — The favourite home of the Pheasant is thick coi^ert, 
woods with plenty of undergrowth, in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of cultivated land, where in the morning and evening the 
birds can come out to feed. Oak, hazel, and fir plantations 
scattered over large parks are much resorted to, for the birds 
seldom stray far from the shelter of the trees, and retire on 
the slightest approach of danger, being decidedly shy and 
retiring in their habits. 

Most of our readers are well acquainted with the Common 
Pheasant in a semi-domesticated state, when it is undoubtedly 
polygamous, one male pairing with many females, but there 
seems to be good reason for believing that this habit has been 
acquired ; for, in a really wild state, all the evidence, though it 
is certainly somewhat scanty, tends to show that this, as well 
as the other species of PJiasianus^ is monogamous, the cock 
bird remaining with the female during the period of incubation, 


and taking part in the duties of protecting and rearing the 
young. In this as in other countries where Pheasants are 
reared for sport, the greater number of birds killed are cocks, 
and hence, in the following spring, there is generally a pre- 
ponderance of females, which may account for the polygamous 
habits of introduced birds. The males are remarkably quarrel- 
some in the pairing season, fighting fiercely with one another 
for the different females, the more powerful birds appropriating 
the lion's share for their harem. When the females have laid 
their full complement of eggs, the male troubles his head no 
more about them, leaving them to undertake all the cares of 
rearing their family unaided. They cannot be called good 
mothers, for, unlike the majority of game-birds, on the approach 
of danger, they seek safety in flight, leaving the young to 
escape and hide themselves as best they can. This habit is 
often extremely disastrous to the brood, especially when the 
chicks are very small, for, on her return, the mother is 
apparently perfectly satisfied with finding one or two of her 
scattered young, and the remainder are consequently left to 
perish. For this reason gamekeepers are naturally anxious that 
the coverts, where "wild birds" are breeding, should not be 
disturbed during the nesting-season, and it is hardly surprising 
that they should treat trespassers with scant courtesy. The 
majority of birds shot annually in the large preserves in this 
country and in Europe are, of course, reared from eggs placed 
under domestic hens, who make excellent mothers to their 
foster-children. On leaving her nest in the morning and 
evening in search of food, the hen Pheasant is always careful 
to cover her eggs with dead leaves, and she generally quits and 
returns to her nest on the wing, thus avoiding as far as possible 
the danger of being tracked by her enemies. 

The crow of the male resembles the syllables or-ork, which 
are often repeated several times in succession, and may be 
exactly imitated by opening the mouth and drawing the breath 
in sharply to the back of the throat. This call is generally to 
be heard in the morning and evening, especially about sunset, 
when the birds are going to roost, but during the pairing 
season it may be heard at all times of the day, and is also 
given vent to when they are flushed or suddenly startled by 
the report of a gun or a clap of thunder. 


There can be no doubt that if the Pheasant were not arti- 
ficially reared and annually turned down in this country, it 
would soon cease to exist, for, in hard winters especially, 
the birds left for stock are largely dependent on artificial 
feeding. The chief food consists of grain, seeds, berries, and 
young shoots, varied with insects and grubs, wireworms being 
a favourite morsel. 

Pure-bred examples of P. colchims are now rarely to be met 
with in England, the great majority of birds being hybrids with 
the Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant (P. torquatus), which was 
subsequently introduced. 

Like the rest of its kind, the Pheasant, though it roosts and 
often perches on trees, is essentially a ground bird, and a tre- 
mendous runner ; the old cocks, having learnt wisdom from 
past experience, frequently refuse to rise at the net and face 
the guns so anxiously waiting to salute them, and may be seen 
running back among the beaters as fast as their legs can carry 
them. The whir made in rising is loud and startling, but 
when once well on the wing, the Pheasant's flight is extremely 
swift, being performed by rapid and incessant beats of the 
rounded wing, and when coming high, down wind, the pace 
at which a good " rocketer " can travel is almost incredible. 

During the nesting-season the hen Pheasant has numerous 
enemies to contend with, the most formidable being the 
prowling Fox, who seizes her as she sits on her nest, and the 
Rooks and Crows, both Hooded and Carrion, who steal and 
suck her eggs. A curious instance of the enormous amount of 
damage done by Crows came under my notice in May, 1893. 

With a friend, I was passing through a Scotch fir plantation 
forming part of a large estate in the north of Scotland, where 
thousands of Pheasants are annually reared and turned down. 
The plantation ran along about a hundred feet above the rocky 
sea-coast, and as we advanced along the slippery path, we found 
several sucked pheasant's eggs, evidently the work of Crows, 
nor had we gone far before we came suddenly upon a whole 
family of Hooded rascals, five young and two old birds. In 
the course of about a quarter of a mile, we counted over a 
hundred empty shells which had evidently been carried to the 
path and there devoured. How many more might have been 
discovered had we searched it is impossible to say, but we saw 



ample evidence of the wholesale destruction which a family of 
Crows is capable of committing among Pheasants' eggs. 
Within two miles of this spot, to his shame be it said, stood a 
keeper's house, where a thousand young birds were being 
reared. This worthy informed us that the great heat and 
drought then prevalent was decimating his broods of young 
Pheasants, who were dying in scores from a disease which 
attacks the eyes, and from which few recover. He volunteered 
the information that he had not been over to the belt of fir 
wood " for this two months," as there was nothing there to take 
him so far ! A little more attention to the destruction ol 
Hooded Crows in April might have saved a hundred or 
two of strong wild-bred birds for the sport in the fall of the 

Female Pheasants that have become barren either from age 
or through disease of the ovary, generally assume the plumage 
of the cock to a greater or less extent, and we have known a 
number of instances in which the male plumage had been so 
perfectly donned, that it was only by the smaller size, blunt 
spurs, and much shorter tail, that the true sex of the individual 
could be ascertained. Last year I examined a hen pheasant 
in perfectly normal plumage, but with a well-developed sharp 
spur on each leg ; this bird, on dissection, was found to have 
been shot in the left ovary, a No. 2 or 3 shot being there 
imbedded, which had destroyed the organ, and given rise to an 
ugly tumorous growth. The wound w^as evidently an old 
standing one, but in this instance the plumage had remained 

The Common Pheasant not only crosses with other species of 
its own kind, but hybrids are occasionally produced between 
it and the Black Game, Domestic Fowl, and Guinea Fowl, 
while instances are on record of hybrids between Pheasant 
and Capercailzie. 

Albinos and piebald birds are by no means an uncommon 
occurrence among our semi-domesticated birds, but no doubt 
much rarer among really wild individuals. 

Nest. — A mere hollow in the ground, roughly lined with dead 
leaves, and carefully hidden from view by dead fern, brambles, 
or coarse grass or other herbage. 

296 Allen's naturalist's library. 

Eggs. — Vary in number from eight to twelve, but a score or 
more are sometimes found in one nest, probably the produce of 
more than one female ; they are broad oval, slightly pointed at 
the smaller end, generally brown, or olive-brown in colour, 
more rarely bluish-green, uniform in tint, and with rather a 
smooth polished shell. Average measurements, i'8 by 1*4 

Note. — The Andalucian Hemipode was included in the British List 
many years ago. Two specimens are said to have been obtained in 
Oxfordshire, and a third in Yorkshire. " No one," says Mr. Saunders, 
"who knows how sedentary and local this species is, will believe it to be 
a genuine visitor." 

The synonymy is as follows : — 


Tetrao sylvatiais, Desfont. Mem. Acad. Sci. Paris, p. 500 (1789). 
Turnix sylvaticus, Drefser, B. Eur. vii. p. 249, pi. 494 (1876) ; B. O. U. 

List Brit. B. p. 146 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarrell's Brit. B. iii. 

p. 131 (1883); id. Man. Brit. B. p. 492, note (1889); Grant, Cat. 

B. Br't. Mus. xxii. p. 537 (1893) ; id. in Allen's Nat. Libr. xii. 

p. 270 (1896). 



The following alterations and additions have become necessary 
since the publication of the earlier volumes of the present 

Page 30. 


The name Chloris having been preoccupied in Botany, the 
name of Ligurinus of Kaup must be employed for the Green- 

Page 31, line 6 from top. Read: — 


Page 48. Before *' The Sparrows," insert : — 


^giothus exilipes^ Coues, Proc. Philad. Acad. 1861, p. 385. 
Acanthis exilipes, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xii. p. 254 (1888). 
Linota hornemanni (nee. Holboell), Lilford. Col. Fig. Brit. B. 
part XXX. (1895). 

Adult. — Very similar to the Mealy Redpole, but distinguished 
by its purer colour, and by having the rump pure white, with a 
rosy tinge, not streaked as in the Mealy Redpole. Bill, 
orange-yellow ; the culmen and tip of the genys blackish ; feet 
blackish-brown ; iris dark brown. Total length, 5 inches ; 
culmen, 0-4 ; wing, 3-0; tail, 2*3; tarsus, 0-55. 

The changes of plumage are similar to those undergone by 
the Mealy Redpoll. 

Range in Great Britain. — Mr. Cordeaux has recorded a specimen 
of this white-rumped Redpoll from the Humber district, and 
two specimens are in Dr. Bendelack Hewetson's collection from 
Easington in Yorkshire, where they were obtained in October, 

298 Allen's naturalist's library. 

1883, and October, 1893. One of these has been figured by 
Lord Lilford in his beautiful work on British Birds. I have 
also seen a specimen caught near Tring, in the Hon. Walter 
Rothschild's collection. There can be little doubt that the 
species occurs more frequendy in Great Britain than is supposed, 
but is confounded with the Mealy Redpoll. 

Range outside the Britisli Islands. — This species lias an extensive 
range, occurring from Northern Scandinavia across Siberia, 
and throughout Arctic America. 


Linota hornemanni, Holboell, Naturl. Tidskr. iv. p. 395 

Acanthis hornenianni^ Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xii. p. 257 


Adult Male. — Similar to Coues' Redpoll, but much larger. 
Total length, 5-3 inches; culmen, 0-4; wing, 3-4; tail, 2-5; 
tarsus, 0*65. 

Adult Female. — A little smaller than the male. Wing, 3-2 

Range in Great Britain. — A specimen of this large white-rumped 
Redpoll is recorded by the late John Hancock as having been 
obtained near Whitburn, in Durham, in April, 1855. 

Range outside the British Islands. — The home of this species is 
in Eastern North America, Greenland, and Iceland. 

Page 61. Insert : — 


Loxia pyrrhula^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 300 (1766). 

Pyrrhula major, Brehm ; Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 97, pi. 198 

Pyrrhula pyrrhula, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xii. p. 446 

Adults. — Similar to P. europoea, but much larger, and the 
colours purer, especially the red colour of the breast. Total 
length, 6 inches ; culmen, 0-5 ; wing, 27 ; tail, 2'6 ; tarsus, 07. 
Range in Great Britain. — Two specimens of the large Bull- 
finch were exhibited by Colonel Irby at a meeting of the 


Zoological Society on the 19th of November, 1895. "I'hey 
were shot on the Yorkshire coast about the ist of November, 
1893, and had been mounted by local bird-stuffers as Common 
Bullfinches. A third specimen has been recorded by Mr. 
J. H. Gurney as having been obtained on the Caistor denes in 

Range outside tlie Britisli Islands. — Replaces P. eiiropoea in 
Scandinavia, and from Poland eastwards throughout Siberia. 

Habits. — Exactly like those of its smaller western representa- 
tive. The eggs are slightly larger than those of P. europoea. 

Page 189. Insert : — 


Sylvia sub-alpina, Temm. Man. d'Orn. i. p. 214 (1820, ex 
Bonelli, MSS.); Dresser, B. Eur. ii. p. 389, pi. 59 (1875). 

Adult Male. — Slaty-grey above ; wings brown, with pale edges 
to the coverts, the secondaries more broadly margined ; tail 
brown, the three or four outside feathers with more or less 
white ; chin, throat, and breast chestnut, shading off into paler 
chestnut on the flanks ; the centre of the abdomen and under 
tail-coverts whitish ; under wing-coverts pale grey, with darker 
centres ; axillaries pale vinous grey ; a narrow white line along 
the sides of the head separating the chestnut of the lower 
surface from the grey of the upper ; bill dark horn-colour, the 
lower mandible light yellowish at the base ; feet dusky brown ; 
iris .brown; eyehd reddish. Total length, 4-6 inches ; culmen, 
o'45 ; wing, 2-3 ; tail, 2*1 ; tarsus, 07. 

Adult Female. — Browner than the male above, and not so 
ashy-grey. The chestnut of the under parts replaced by buffy- 
white, with a vinous tinge on the sides of the breast. The 
birds of the year are buffy-brown on the breast and flanks, the 
male being a little greyer than the female. 

Characters. — This little Warbler is allied to the Whitethroats, 
but is smaller than any of them, the wing being less than 2-5 
inches in length, while the colour of the legs and feet is brown. 
It is distinguished from all the small Warblers of the White- 
throat group by its chestnut chin and breast. 


Rang-e in Great Britain. — A specimen of a supposed " Dartford 
Warbler," was procured in St. Kilda on the 13th of June, 1894, 
by Mr. J. S. Elliott, who sent it to me for identification, and I 
was not a little surprised to find that it was an example of the 
present species. 

Range outside tlie British Islands. — Inhabits the countries of the 
Mediterranean, probably as far east as Persia. Winters in 
Senegambia, and in North-eastern Africa. 

Hatoit. — Mr. John Whitehead, who observed this species in 
Corsica, says that it is plentiful in that island, arriving about 
the middle of April. The first nest was taken on the 6th of 
May. He writes : — " This little warbler spends nearly all its 
time in the thick scrub, sometimes mounting high into the air, 
and uttering a short but pretty song, then diving back into the 
dense bush, its whereabouts being only discovered by a short 
chattering note." 

Nest and Eggs. — The same observer describes these as 
follows : "The nest is often frail, about i| inch deep and 2J 
inches in diameter. It is composed of dry stalks, often 
with a good many dead thistle-leaves, and lined with fine dry 
grass, sometimes with long horse-hairs. The eggs, four in 
number, are of a pale yellowish or greenish- white, speckled all 
over, but especially at the larger end, with light brown and 
slate blue." 

Page 204. Add : — 



Fhylloscopus viridanus, Blyth, J. A. S. Beng. xii. p. 967 (1843); 
Seebohm, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. v. p. 44 (1881) : Dresser, 
B. Eur. Suppl. p. 87 (1895); Caton Haigh, Zool. 1896, 
p. 446. 

Adult Male. — Similar to P. trochilus^ but rather greener above 
and not so yellow below, and distinguished by the wung-bar, 
formed by the yellowish-white tips to the greater coverts. Dull 
olive-green above, lighter on the rump; a yellowish-white eye- 
stripe, well-defined, and reaching to the nape; ear-coverts 


greenish yellow; under surface of body pale greenish-yellow; 
the under wing-coverts and axillaries pale yellow ; " bill brown 
above, brownish-yellow below ; legs and feet pale olivaceous 
grey; iris dark brown" {E. A. Butler), Total length, 475 
inches; culmen, 0-5 ; wing, 2-2 ; tail, 17 ; tarsus 07. 

Range in Great Britain. — A specimen of this Indian species 
was shot by Mr. G. H. Caton Haigh at North Cotes, on the 
Lincolnshire coast, on the 5th of September, 1896. Mr. 
Caton Haigh observes : — " The weather prevailing at the time 
of its appearance was such as usually results in a great immi- 
gration of small birds — the wind backing to the East on the 
night of the 3rd, and blowing a fresh breeze from that quarter 
on the 4th and 5th, with heavy rain commencing to fall on the 
afternoon of the 4th, and lasting without intermission for 
twenty-four hours." 

Range outside the British Islands. — Mr. Gatke records three 
specimens from Heligoland. The home of this species is in 
Central Asia, as it nests in the Altai Mountains, and in Tur- 
kestan, as well as in the Himalayas. Its eastern breeding- 
range extends to the Ural Mountains and North-Eastern 
Russia. In winter it is spread over the Indian peninsula to 

Habits. — An excellent account of this species is given by Mr. 
Dresser in his " Birds of Europe," from which we learn that it 
frequents mixed groves and woods ; and, according to Severtzoff, 
it is to be met with among bushes and the tall steppe-grass. 
Dr. Scully noticed it amongst the tamarisk and willow bushes, 
and remarks that it seemed very restless, continually flitting 
from spray to spray. Both Blyth and Dr. Scully state that its 
voice is weak, and the former describes the note as tiss-yip^ tiss- 
yip, frequently uttered. Sabanaeff, however,says that the voice 
of this bird consists of so loud and so strong a trill that it can 
scarcely be recognised as the song of a Leaf-Warbler, and its 
call-note, which is a short and shrill psipsi\ closely resembles 
that of the Yellow Wagtail." (Cf. Dresser, B. Eur. Suppl. 
p. 90). 

Nest. — One found by Mr. W. E. Brooks in Kashmir, was 
domed, and placed on a steep bank-side of a ravine full of 


small birch trees, at an elevation of about ii,ooo feet. It did 
not contain eggs. 
Eggs. — Unknown. 

Page 214. Add : — 


Motacilla proregulus, Pall. Zoogr. Russo.-Asiat. i. p. 499 (181 1). 

PJiylloscopus proregiihis, Seebohm, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. v. 

p. 71 (188 1) ; Dresser, B. Eur. Suppl. p. 74. pi. 650, fig. 2 

(1895); Southwell, Zool. 1896, p. 8; Gurney, Zool. p. 

135 (1897)- 

Adult Male. — Similar to P. superciliosus, but easily dis- 
tinguished by the yellow rump, in strong contrast to the 
greenish back. Like P. supercilwsus, it has a couple of yellow 
wing-bars, as well as a light yellowish streak on the crown ; 
" upper mandible dark-brown, the lower one orange nearly to 
the tip ; legs brown ; feet yellowish." Total length, 4*5 inches ; 
culmen, 0-45 ; wing, 2*3; tail, 1*65; tarsus, o'8. 

Adult Female. — Similar to the male. Total length, 3-6 
inches ; wing, i '9. 

Seebohm says that the winter plumage is scarcely distinguish- 
able from the summer plumage, but the autumn livery is more 
brilliant than that of spring. In summer, the yellow of the 
mesial line on the crown, eye-stripes, wing-bars, and rump, 
becomes paler by abrasion, the pale tips to the quills dis- 
appear, and the broad edges to the innermost secondaries 
become narrow. Otherwise, he says, the changes from spring 
plumage are very slight. 

Range in Great Britain. — -A specimen of this Willow-Warbler 
was shot at Cley, in Norfolk, on the 31st of October, 1896, by 
Mr. E. Ramm. 

Range outside the British Islands. — In Heligoland this species 
is believed by Gatke to have occurred at least twice. Its home 
is in Eastern Siberia and the Himalaya Mountains, and it visits 
the neighbourhood of Orenburg in autumn, and winters in 
Tenasserim and in Southern China. 

Habits. — The present species is described as having a very 
powerful note. Mr. Styan describes it as a " loud Canary-like 


hiveet^' Dr. Dybowski says that its note is melodious and 
powerful, and its song varied and sweet, and so loud that it 
rings through the forest, and is astonishing as coming from so 
small a bird. 

Pallas's Willow-Warbler is chiefly an inhabitant of the pine 
woods, and makes it nest on the branches of the smaller pines 
and moss-covered cedars, near the stem. In Kashmir, Captain 
Cock found the nest placed on the outer end of the branch of 
a fir tree, from six to forty feet elevation, and sometimes on a 
small sapling pine where the junction of the bough with the 
stem takes place. 

Nest. — "The nest," says Captain Cock, "is partially domed, 
the outer portion consisting of moss and lichen, so arranged as 
to harmonise with the bough on which it is placed, and lined 
with feathers and thin birch-bark strips, never with hair." 

Eggs. — Described by the above-named observer as being five 
in number, pure white, richly marked with dark brownish- red, 
particularly at the larger end, forming there a fine zone on most 
of the eggs, and intermingled with these spots, and especially 
on the zone, are some spots and blotches of deep purple-grey. 
Axis, o-53-o'55 inch; diam., 0-43-0-44. 


Page 42. ^ , 

Range of the king-eider : — 

Mr. A. Trevor-Batty e has pointed out to me that, by a 

kipsus calami^ I have included Spitsbergen as one of its winter 

habitats. He says : — "As a fact this Duck has been many times 

recorded in the summer in Spitsbergen, while in the winter it 

obviously cannot be there, nor could it be recorded if it were." 

Page 161, hne 6 from bottom : — 

With regard to the statement of the " Son of the Marshes," 
that " when the young are alarmed, they scatter out," the most 
interesting point in the nesting habits of yE. hiaticola is that 
the parent bird itself, if suddenly disturbed, scatters the young 
ones with its feet, no doubt for purposes of better conceal- 
ment ; for the young, when so scattered, instantly squat down 


close among the stones, and are then practically invisible. A 
reference to this has been given by Air. Trevor-Battye in his 
ornithological appendix to " Ice-bound on Kolguev," where he 
gives a careful description of the same tactics as pursued by 
the Red-necked Phalarope {Phalaropus hypoboreus). 


Page 63 :— 


Larus atricilla^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 225 (1766); Saunders, 
Man. Brit. B. p. 646, note (1889); id. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 
XXV. p. 194 (1896). 

{Plate CXXIV.) 
Adult. — Similar to Z. ridibundus, but distinguished by its 
black head, dark slate-grey mantle, and its black outer 
primaries. Total length, 16*5 inches; wing, 13-0. 

Range. — North America, migrating south to Guiana, Brazil, 
and Northern Peru. 

This species was figured in Jardine's ^' Naturalist's Library," 
and I have thought it advisable to republish the figure. One 
specimen is said to have been procured at Winchilsea, but this is 
disallowed by Mr. Saunders, who says that there is no authentic 
record for the species in England or any part of Europe. 

Page 182. 


During a recent visit to Manchester, I found a young bird of 
this species in the very interesting collection of Mr. Bulkeley 
Allen at Altrincham. The specimen was shot at Achaglachgach, 
Loch Fyne, by a keeper named Ebenezer Burgess, late in the 
autumn of 1893. 


Page 255, line 8 from bottom. Read : — ^^ Turtur arenicola." 



Acanthis exilipes, 297 

hornemanni, 298 
adamsi, Colymbus, 180, 182, 304 
JE iothus exilipes, 297 
albipennis, Podicipes, 209 
Alca, 106 

alle, 127 

arctica, 130 

bruennichi, 120 

grylle, 123 

impennis, ill 

lor da, 106 

troile, 114, 120 
alchatus, Pterocles, 258 
Alle, 127 

alle, 127 
alle, Alca, 127 

Alle, 127 

Mergulus, 127 
American Laughing Gull, 304 

Passenger Pigeon, 250 
anoestheta, Sterna, 29 
Andalucian Hemipode, 296 
anglica, Gelochelidon, 11 

bterna, 11 
anglorum, Puffinus, 163 
Anous, 37 

stolidus, 37 
antarctica, Megalestris, 89 
aquaticus, Rallus, 216 
Arctic Tern, 21 
arctica, Alca, 130 

Fratercula, 130 

Mormon, 130 

Sterna, 21 
arcticus, Colymbus, 185, 187 
arenicola, Turtur, 255 
argentatus, Larus, 70 
arra, Uria, 121 
atra, Fulica, 238 
atricilla, Larus, 304 


Auk, Great, in 

Little, 127 
auritus, Colymbus, 201 

Dytes, 201 

Podiceps, 193, 201, 204 

Podicipes, 201 

Turtur, 254 

bailloni, Crex, 232 

Porzana, 232 
Baillon's Crake, 232 
Black Guillemot, 123 

headed Gull, 59 

necked Grsbe, 204 

Shearwaters, 175 

Tern, 3 

Tern, White-winged, 9 

throated Diver, 185 
Bonaparte's Gull, 56 
bonapartii, Gavia, 56 
brevipes, CEstrelata, 173 

Procellaria, 173 
brevirostris, Rissa, 84 
Bridled Guillemot, 119 
bruennichi, Alca, 120 

Lomvia, 120 

Uria, 120 
Briinnich's Guillemot, 120 
buffoni, Stercorarius, 10 1 
Buffon's Skua, loi 
Bullfinch, Greater, 298 
bulweri, Bulweria, 175 

Procellaria, 175 

Thalassidroma, 175 
Bulweria, 160, 175 

bulweri, 175 

columbina, 175 
Bulwer's Petrel, 175 

Caccabis hispanica, 281 
rufa, 280 



coeruleus, Porphyrio, 238 
californica, Uria, 115 
Cannabina exilipes, 297 

hornemanni, 298 
cantiaca, Sterna, 27 
canus, Larus, 73, S^ 
Cape Fulmar, 15S 
capense, Daption, 15S 
capensis, Coturnix, 288 

Daption, 158 

Podicipes, 209 

Proctl'aria, 158 
Capercailzie, 276 
capistrata, Gavia, 59 
Capped Petrel, 172 
Carolina Crake, 230 
Carolina, Crex, 230 

Porzana, 230 

Rallus, 230 
carolinensis, Podiceps, 193 
casiotis, Columba, 243 
caspia, Hydroprogne, 14 

Sterna, 14 

S3lochelidon, 14 
Caspian Tern, 14 
caspicus, Podiceps, 193 
catarrhactes, Larus, 90 

Lestris, 90 

Megalestris, 89, 90 

Stercorarius, 90 
cayanus, Podiceps, 193 
Cepphus gryllc, 123 

mandti, 125 
Cetosparactes eburneus, 81 
chilensis, Megalestris, 89 
Chloris, 297 
chloris, Ligurinus, 297 
chloropu?, Fulica, 234 

Gallinula, 234, 235, 236 
cinerca, Perdix, 282 
cintreus, Lagopus, 271 
colchicus, Phasianus, 291, 294 
Columba, 241 

casiotis, 243 

livia, 247 

migratorius, 250 

cenas, 244 

orientalis, 256 

palumbns, 241 

Columba turtur, 254 
columbina, Bulweria, 175 
Colymbus, 178 

adamsi, 180, 182, 304 

arcticus, 185, 187 

auritu^-, 201 

cristatu?, 194 

fluviatilis, 207 

glacialis, 178, 1S3, 184 

giiseigena, 198 

grylle, 123 

podicipes, 213 

septei^tiional-s, 1S7, 1S9 

troile, 114 
Common Coot, 238 

Guillemot, 114 

Gull, 73 

Partridge, 282 

Pheasant, 291 

Qaail, 286 

Ttrn, 17 
communis, Cotuinix, 2S7 

Turtur, 254 
Coot, Common, 238 
cornutus, Podiceps, 193, 201 
Coturnix, 287 

capensis, 288 

communis, 2S7 

coturnix, 287 

dactylisonans, 287 

japonica, 2S8 
coturnix, Coturnix, 2S7 

Tetra--^, 287 
Coues' Redpoll, 297 
Crake, Baillon's, 232 

Carolina, 230 

Little, 223 

Spotted, 226 
crepidatuf, Lestris, 97 

Stercorarius, 97, 99 
Crex, 220 

bailloni, 222 

Carolina, 230 

crex, 220 

parva, 224 

porzana, 226 

prate nsis, 220 

pusilla, 223 
crex, Crex, 220 



ciex, Rallus, 220 

cristata, Lophrethyia, 194, 199 

cristatus, Colymbus, 194 

Podiceps, 193, 194 

Podicipes, 194 
cryptoleucura, Cymochorea, 143 

Oceanodroma, 143 
Cymochorea, cryptoleucura, 143 

leucorrhoa, 140 

dactylisonans, Coturnix, 287 
Daption, 152, 157 

capense, 158 

capensis, 158 
daurica, Perdix, 282 
Diver, Black-throated, 1S5 

Great Northern, 17S 

Red-lhroated, 187 

White-billed, 182 
dominicus, Podiceps, 193 

Podicipes, 209 
dougalli, Sterna, 23 
Dove, Oriental Turile, 256 

Rock, 247 

Stock, 244 

Turtle, 254 
Dove-like Fulmars, 171 
Duiky Shearwater, 168 
Dytes, 193, 201 

auritus, 201 

Eared Grebes, 204 
eburnea, Pagophila, Si 
eburneus, Get )paractLS, Si 

Larus, 81 
Ectopistes, 250 

migratorius, 250 
Eider, King 304 
europaea, Pyirhula, 299 
europDeas, Sylhe Kyclus, 207 
exilipes, Acan"his, 297 

^giothus, 297 

Cannabina, 297 
exustus, Pterocks, 258 

P^lat-cUwed S orin-Fetie's, 
fluv'atilis, C'jl)mbus, 207 

Podiceps, 207 

Podicipes, 207 


fluviatilis, Sterna, 17 

Tachybaptes, 207 
Fork-tailed Gulls, 41 

Petrel, 140 
Fratercula, 130 

arctica, 130 

glacialis, 132 
frontata, Gallinula, 236 
Fulica atra, 238 

chloropus, 234 
fuliginosa, Sterna, 31, 32 
Fulmar, 153 

Cape, 158 
Fulmars, Dove-like, 171 

Pied, 157 
Fulmarus, 152 

glacialis, 153 
fuicus, L3rus, 66 

Gabianas, 48 

pacificus, 48 
galeata, Gallinula, 236 
Gallinula, 234 

clilo:opu5, 234, 235, 236 

Irontata, 236 

galeata, 236 

pyrihorhoa, 236 

tenebrosa, 236 
Gallinules, Purple, 237 
Gatne-Birds, 261 
Garrodia nereis, 148 
Gavia bonapartii, 56 

capistrata, 59 

minuta, 49 

ridibunda, 59 

sabinii, 41 
GelochelidoD, 11 

anglica, 1 1 
(iiant Terns, 13 
glacialis, Colymbus, 178, 183, i< 

Fra'.ercula, 130 

Fulmarui, 153 

Procellaria, 153 
.Glaucous Gub, 76 
gravis, Procellaria, 160 

Puffinus, 160 
Great Auk, iii 

Black-backed Gull, 63 

Black-headed Gull, 51 



Great Crested Grebe, 194 

Northern Diver, 178 

Shearwater, 160 

Skua, 90 
Greater Bullfinch, 298 
Grebe, Black-necked, 204 

Great Crested, 194 

Pied-billed, 213 

Red-necked, 198 

Slavonian, 201 
Grebes, Eared, 204 

Horned, 201 

Little, 207 

Thick billed, 213 

Tippeted, 192 
Greenfinch, 297 
Greenish Willow-Warbler, 300 
Greenland Redpoll, 298 
Grey Petrel, White-throated, ly^ 
Grey Storm -Petrels, 149 
grisea, Procellaria, 169 
griseigena, Colymbus, 198 

Lopheethyia, 195, 198, 199 

Podiceps, 193, 198 

Podicipes, 198 
griseus, Puffinus, 169 
Ground Pigeons, 253 
Grouse, Red, 262, 263 

Sand, 257, 259 
grylle, Alca, 123 

Cepphus, 123 

Colymbus, 123 

Uria, 123 
Guillemot, Black, 123 

Bridled, 119 

Briinnich's, 120 

Common, 114 
gularis, Podicipts, 209 
Gull, American Laughing, 304 

Black-headed, 59 

Bonaparte's, 56 

Common, 73 

Glaucous, 76 

Great Black-backed, 6^ 

Great Black-headed, 51 

Herring, 70 

Iceland, 79 

Ivory, 81 

Kittiwake, 84 

Gull, Lesser Black-backed, 66 

Little, 49 

Mediterranean Black-headed, 54 

Sabine's, 41 
Gull-billed Tern, 1 1 
Gulls, Forked-tailed, 41 

Wedge-tailed, 45 

haesitata, Oistrelata, 172, 174 
Haliplana, 31 
hebridicus, Podiceps, 193 
Ilemipode, Andalucian, 296 
Herring-Gull, 70 
hirundo. Sterna, 17, 21 
hispanica, Caccabis, 281 
hodgsonise, Perdix, 282 
holboelli, Lophaethyia, 200 
Homopelia, 253 
Horned Grebes, 201 
hornemanni, Acanthis, 298 

Cannabina, 298 

Linota, 297, 298 
hy])rida, Ilydrochelidon, 4, 6 

Sterna, 6 
Hydrochelidon, 3 

hybrida, 4, 6 

Itucopareia, 6 

leucoptera, 4, 7, 9 

nigra, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 

surinamensis, 3 
Hydroprogne, 13 

caspia, 14 
hyperboreus, Larus, 76 

Phalaropus, 304 

Iceland Gull, 79 
ichthyaetus, Larus, 51 
impennis, Alca, in 

Plautus, 1 1 1 
indicus, Rallus, 21 
intermedia, Porzana, 232 
intermedius, Rallus, 232 
Ivory Gull, Si 

japonica, Coturnix, 288 

King-Eider, 304 
Kittiwake Gull, 84 
kuhli, Puffinus, 161 



Lagopus, 263 

cinereus, 271 

mutus, 271 

scoticus, 263 
lagopus, Tetrao, 271 
Land-Rail, 220 
Larus, 48 

argentatus, 70 

atricilla, 304 

canus, 'J2,, ?>3 

catarrhactes, 90 

eburneus, 81 

fuscus, 66 

hyberboreus, jS 

ichthyaetus, 51 

leucopterus, 79 

niarinus, 63 

melanocephalus, 54 

minutus, 49 

parasiticus, 10 1 

Philadelphia, 55, 56 

ridibundus, 55, 59 

roseus, 4.5 

rossii, 45 

sabinii, 41 

tridactylus, 84 
Laughing Gull, American, 304 
leachi, Procellaria, 140 

Thalassidronia, 140 
Lesser Blacked-backed Gull, 66 
Lestris catarrhactes, 90 

crepidatus, 97 

parasiticus, lOI 

pomarina, 93 

richardsoni, 97 
leucopareia, Hydrochelidon, 6 
Leucophaeus, 48 

scoresbyii, 48 
leucoptera, Hydrochelidon, 4, 7, 9 

Sterna, 9 
leucopterus, Larus, 79 
Icucorrhoa, Cymochorea, 140 

Oceanodroma, 140 

Procellaria, 140 

Thalassidronia, 140 
Levantine Shearwater, 167 
Ligurinus, 297 

chloris, 297 
Linota hornemanni, 297, 298 

Little Auk, 127 

Crake, 223 

Grebe, 207 

Gull, 49 
livia, Columba, 247 
Lomvia bruennichi, 120 

troile, 114 
Lonji-legged Storm-Petrels, 145 
Lopha^thyia, 192, 193 

cristata, 194, 199 

griseigena, 195, 198, 199 

holbuelli, 200 
Loxia pjrrhula, 298 
ludovicianus, Podiceps, 193 
lunulata, Sterna, 31 
Lyrurus, 273 

mlokosiewiczi, 274 

tetrix, 273, 274 

maccormickii, Megalestris, 89 
macdougalli, Sterna, 24 
macrura. Sterna, 21 
Madeira Storm-Petrel, 140 
Majaqueus, 160 
major, Puffinus, 160 
mandti, Cepphus, 125 
Manx Shearwater, 163 
marina, Pelagodroma, 149 

Procellaria, 149 
marinus, Larus, 63 
maruetta, Porzana, 226 
Mediterranean Black-headed (jull, 

Megalestris, 89 

antarctica, 89 

catarrhactes, 89, 90 

chilensis, 89 

maccormickii, 89 
Megalopterus stolidus, 2)7 
melanocephalus, Larus, 54 
Mergulus alle, 127 
migratorius, Columba, 250 

Ectopistes, 250 
minor, Podiceps, 193, 207 
minuta, Gavia, 49 

Sterna, 34 
minutus, Larus, 49 
mlokosiewiczi, Lyrurus, 274 



montana, Perdix, 286 
Moor-hen, 234 
Mormon arctica, 130 
Motacilla proregulus, 302 
mutus, Lagopus, 271 

Tetrao, 271 
nereis, Garrodia, 148 
nigra, Ilydrochelidon, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 

Sterna, 3 
nigricollis, Podiceps, 193, 204 

Podicipes, 204 

Proctopus, 204 
Noddy Tern, ^7 

obscura, Procellaria, 168 
obscurus, Podiceps, 193 

Puffinu?, 168 
oceanica, Procellaria, 145 
oceanicus, Oceanites, 145 
Oceanites, 145 

oceanicus, 145 

wilsoni, 145 
Oceanodroma, 140 

cryptoleucura, 143 

leucorrhoa, 140 
oenas, Columba, 2-14 
CEstrelata, 160, 171 

brevipes, 173 

hxsilata, 172, 174 

torquala, 1 73 
Oriental Turtle-Doves, 256 
orif^ntalis, Columba, 256 

Turtur, 256 
Oosifraga, 152 

pacificus, Gabianu.^, 48 
Pagophila, 48, 81 

eburnea, Si 
Pallas's Sand-Grouse, 260 

Willow -Warbler, 302 
palumbus, Columba, 241 
paradoxa, Tttrao, 260 
paradoxus, Syrrhaptes, 259, 260 
parasitica, Lestris, loi 
parasiticus, Larus, loi 

Lestri?, loi 

Stercorarius, 99, loi 

Partridge, Common, 2S2 

Red-legged, 280 
parva, Crex, 224 
Porzana, 223 

Zapornia, 223, 224 
parvus, Rallus, 223 
Passenger Pigeons, 250 
pelagica, Procellaria, 137 

Thalassidroma, 137 
Pelagodroma, 149 

marina, 149 
Perdix, 282 

cincrea, 283 

daurica, 282 

hodgsonice, 282 

montana, 286 

perdix, 282 ~ ■ 

rubra, 280 

rufa, 280 

sifanica, 282 
perdix, Perdix, 282 

Tetrao, 282 
Petrel, Bulvver's, 175 

Capped, 172 

Fork-tailed, 140 

Storm, 137 

W^hite-throated Grey, 173 

Wilson's, 145 
Phalaropus hypeiboreus, 304 
Phasianus, 290 

colchicus, 291, 294 

torquatus, 294 
Pheasant, Common, 291 
Philadelphia, Larus, 55, 56 

Sterna, 56 
philippensis, Podicipes, 209 
Phyllo;-copus prorctiulus, 30J 

superciliosus, 302 

trochijus, 301 

viridanus, 300 
Pied-billed Grebe, 213 
Pied Fulmars, 157 
Pigeon, American Passenger, 250 

Wood, 241 
Pigeons, 240 

Ground, 253 

Passenger, 250 

Pointed-tailed, 250 
Plautus, 110 



Plautus impennis, 1 1 1 
Podcethyia, 193 
Podiceps, 193 

auritus, 193, 201, 204 

carolinensis, 193 

caspicus, 193 

cayanus, 193 

cornutus, 193, 201 

cristatus, 193, 194 

dominicus, 193 

fluviatilis, 207 

griseigena, 193, 198 

hebridicus, 193 

ludovicianus, 193 

minor, 193, 207 

nigricollis, 193, 204 

obscurus, 193 

rubricollis, 193, 198 

thomensis, 193 
podiceps, Podilymbus, 213 
Podicipes, 207 

albipennis, 209 

auritus, 201 

capensis, 209 

cristatu?, 194 

dominicus, 209 

fluviatilis, 207 

griseigena, 198 

gularis, 209 

nigricollis, 204 

philippensis, 209 

tricolor, 209 
podicipes, Colymbus, 213 

Podilymbus, 213 
Podilymbus, 193 

podiceps, 213 

podicipes, 213 
Pointed-tailed Pigeons, 250 
pollicaris, Rissa, 84 
pomarina, Lestris, 93 
pomarinus, Stercorarius, 93 
Pomatorhine Skua, 93 
pomatorhinus, Stercorarius, 93, 99 
Porphyrio, 237 

cceruleus, 238 
porphyrio, Porphyrio, 237, 238 
Porzana, 226 

bailloni, 232 

Carolina, 230 

Porzana intermedia, 232 

maruetta, 226 

parva, 223 

porzana, 226 

pusilla, 234 
porzana, Crex, 226 

Porzana, 226 

Rallus, 226 
pratensis, Crex, 220 
Priocella, 160 
Prion, 152 
Procellaria, 137 

brevipe?, 173 

bulweii, 175 

capensis, 158 

glacialis, 153 

gravis, 160 

grisea, 169 

Jeachi, 140 

leucorrhoa, 140 

marina, 149 

obscura, 186 

oceanica, 145 

pelagica, 137 

puffinus, 163 

yelkouan, 167 
Proctopu', 193 

nigricollis, 204 
proregulus, Motacilla, 30:; 

Phylloscopus, 302 
Ptarmigan, 271 
Pterocles alchatus, 258 

exustus, 258 
Pterocletes, 257 
Puffin, 130 
Puffinus, 160 

arglorum, 163 

gravis, 160 

griseus, 169 

kuhli, 161 

major, 160 

obscurus, 168 

puffinus, 163, 167 

yelkouanus, 167 
puffinus, Procellaria, 163 

Puffinus, 163, 167 
Purple Gallinules, 237 
pusilla, Crex, 223 

Poizana, 234 



pyrrhorhoa, GalHnula, 236 
Pyrrhula europrea, 299 

pyrrhula, 298 
pyrihula, Loxia, 298 

Pyrrhula, 298 

Quail, Common, 287 

Rail, Land, 220 
Rallu=, 216 
aqualicus, 216 
carolim, 230 
crex, 220 
indicus, 218 
intermedius, 232 
parvus, 223 
porzana, 226 
Razor-bill, ic6 
Red Grouse, 262, 263 
legged Partridge, 280 
necked Grebe, 198 
Redpoll, Coues', 297 

Greenland, 298 
Red-throated Diver, 1 87 
Rhodostethia, 45 
rosea, 45 
rossi, 45 
richardsonj, Lestris, 97 

Stercorarius, 97 
Richardson's Skua, 97 
ridibunda, Gavia, 59 
ridibundus, Laru?, 55, 59 
ringvia, Uria, 119 
Rissa, 49, 84 
brevirostris, 84 
pollicaris, 84 
tridactyla, 84 
Rock-Dove, 247 
rosea, Rhodostethia, 45 
Roseate Tern, 23 
roseus, Larus, 45 
rossi, Rhodostethia, 45 
rossii, Larus, 45 
Rotche, 127 
rubra, Perdix, 280 
rubricollis, Podiceps, 193, i( 
rufa, Caccabis, 280 
Perdix, 280 
Tetrao, 280 

Sabine's Gull, 41 
sabinii, Gavia, 41 
Larus, 41 
Xema, 41 
Sand-Grouse, 257, 259 
Pallas's, 260 
Three-toed, 258 
Sandwich Tern, 27 
saundersi, Sterna, 36 
scoresbyii, Leucophceus, 48 
scoticus, Lagopus, 263 

Tetrao, 263, 264 
septentrionalis, Colymbus, 187, 189 
Shearwater, Dusky, 1 68 
Groat, 160 
Levantine, 167 
Manx, 163 
Sooty, 169 
sifanica, Perdix, 282 
Skua, Buffon's, loi 
Great, 90 
Pomatorhine, 93 
Richardson's, 97 
Slavonian Grebe, 201 
Smaller Sooty Tern, 29 
Sooty Shearwater, 169 

Tern, 32 
Spilopelia, 253 
Spotted Crake, 226 
Stercorarius, 89, 93 
buffoni, loi 
catarrhactes, 90 
crepidatus, 97, 99 
parasiticus, 99, loi 
pomarinus, 94 
pomatorhinus, 93, 99 
richardsoni, 97 
Sterna, 17 
ann?stheta, 29 
anglica, 1 1 
arctica, 21 
cantiaca, 27 
caspia, 14 
dougalli, 23 
flaviatilis, 17 
fuliginosa, 31, 32 
hirundo, 17, 21 
hyln-ida, 6 
leucoptera, 9 


Sterna lunulata, 31 

macdougalli, 24 

macrura, 21 

minuta, 34 

nigra, 3 

Philadelphia, 56 

saundersi, 36 

stolida, 37 
Sternula, 36 
Stigmatopelia, 253 
Stock-Dove, 244 
stolida, Sterna, 37 
stolidus, Anous, 37 

Megalopterus, 37 
Storm-Petrel, 137 

Madeira, 143 

White-bellied, 149 
Storm-Petrels, Flat-clawed, 144 

Grey, 149 

Long-legged, 145 
Streptopelia, 253 
sub-alpina, Sylvia, 299 
Sub-Alpine Warbler, 299 
superciliosus, Phylloscopus, 302 
surinamensis, Hydrochelidon, 3 
Sylbeocyclus europoeus, 207 
Sylochelidon caspia, 14 
sylvatica, Tetrao, 296 

Turnix, 296 
sylvaticus, Turnix, 296 
Sylvia sub-alpina, 299 
Syrrhaptes, 258 

paradoxus, 259, 260 

tibetanus, 259 

Tachybaptes fluviatilis, 207 
tenebrosa, Gallinula, 236 
Tern, Arctic, 21 

Black, 3 

Caspian, 14 

Common, 17 

Gull-billed, ii 

Noddy, 37 

Roseate, 23 

Sandwich, 27 

Smaller Sooty, 29 

Sooly, 32 

Whiskered, 6 


Terns, Giant, 13 
Tetrao, 276 

coturnix, 287 

lagopu?, 271 

mutus, 271 

paradoxa, 260 

perdix, 282 

rufa, 280 

scoticus, 263, 264 

sylvaticus, 296 

urogallu?, 276 
tetrix, Lyruru^, 273, 274 
Thalassidroma bulweri. 175 

leachi, 140 

leucorrhoa, 140 

pelagica, 137 
Thalassceca, 160 
Thick-billed Grebe?, 213 
Three-toed Sand-Ckouse, 258 
thomensis, Podiceps, 193 
tibetanus, Syrrhaptes, 259 
Tippeted Grebe?, 192 
torda, Alca, 106 
torda, Utamania, 106 
torquata, OEstrelata, 173 
torquatus, Phasianu<5, 294 
tricolor, Podicipes, 209 
tridactyla, Risfa, 84 
tridaclylu?, Larus, 84 
trochilus, Phylloscopus, 301 
troile, Alca, 114, 120 

Colymbus, 114 

Lomvia, 114 

Uria, 114 
Turnix sylvatica, 296 

sylvaticus, 296 
Turtle-Dove, 254 
Turtle-Doves, Oriental, 256 
Turtur, 254 

arenicola, 304 

auritus, 254 

communis, 254 

orientalis, 256 

turtur, 254 

vulgaris, 254 
turtur, Columba, 254 
Turtur, 254 

Uria, 114 



Uria arra, 12 1 

bruennichi, 120 

californica, 115 

grylle, 123 

ringvia, 119 

troile, 114 
Urinator, 192 
urogallus, Tetrao, 276 
Utamania torda, 106 

viridanus, Phylloscopus, 300 
vulgaris, Turtur, 254 

Whiskered Tern, 6 
White-bellied Storm-Petrel, 149 

-billed Diver, 182 

-throated Grey Petrel, 173 

-winged Black Tern, 9 
Willow-Warbler, Greenish, 300 

Pallas's, 302 
wilsoni, Oceanites, 145 
Wilson's Petrel, 145 
Wood-Pigeon, 241 

Xema, 41 
sabinii, 41 

Warbler, Greenish Willow, 300 

Pallas's Willow, 302 

Sub-Alpine, 299 
Water- Rail, 216 
Wedge -tailed Gulls, 45 

yelkouan, Puffinu?, 167 
yelkouanus, Puffinus, 167 

Zapornia, 223 
parva, 223, 224